Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Tens Of Thousands rally for Peaceful Solution To The Kurdish Problem


“Democratic Solution to the Kurdish Problem” demonstration by the Peace Assembly, a civil society organization consisting of academics, journalists, trade union representatives, intellectuals and political parties, was held on Sunday (June 1) at Kadıköy with tens of thousands of people. There was a single banner at the demonstration both in Kurdish and Turkish: “Enough, we want solution”. “Edi Bese!” in Kurdish, meaning “Enough is enough!” was the slogan for the gathering. People also chanted other slogans, including, “Peace, not war.” The crowd also chanted against Erdoğan.

In addition to the Peace Assembly speakers Murat Çalikkan and Ayhan Bilgen, DTP (pro-Kurdish party) MP’s, and our president Levent Tuzel, many writers, trade unionists and intellectuals were there for support as well.
Greeting the people in Kurdish, Çelikkan said, “We know that the operations, the skirmishes, emptying the villages forcefully, isolating the people in their houses, their villages, the cities where they seek protection and shelter and the prisons are not solutions.”
“First of all, we want the state institutions to take up a political stance that does not put war in the center, but life. We want all the cultures and the Kurdish identity, language and culture to take part in all aspects of public life, and therefore demand the removal of all the legal obstacles in front of this goal. We want the ending of regional discrimination.”
Çelikkan addressed Turks as well: “The responsibility of ending the losses of the Turkish and Kurdish families is on our shoulders. We cannot be equal, free and proud unless we furnish the conditions of  equality, freedom and pride for Kurds as well.”
Following Çalikkan, who ended his speech with “Biji aşiti”, which means ‘peace right away’ in Kurdish, Bilgen said that the Kurdish problem was not only a Kurdish problem, but also, and even more, of a Turkish problem.
“We have to face the question ‘What do Kurds want?’. We will not answer this question for Kurds, but we must find a way to solve the problem before much more blood is shed.”
Mentioning the GAP action plan, which is devised by the Turkish state, Bilgen said, “Trying to explain everything away with impoverishment and reducing the solution to the development projects is an attempt to solve the whole problem with only a small part of the reality.” Furthermore, Bilgen said “So far the governments have taken action with the understanding that ‘if Kurds need to be represented then we will do that too’, adding that the Peace Assembly is ready to take active responsibility in removing society’s prejudices regarding peace.
Demanding that a dialog must start with all the elected representatives of the Kurdish people, Bilgen said that it was now in our hands to start implementing the project of living together in place of forced togetherness.
“You cannot remove the fragmentation, falling into pieces, unless a new constitution, a new social contract, a new determination for liberation is developed.” Ayhan Bilgen, called on the government to create a new constitution that would secure the institutional equality of Turks, Kurds and all citizens. Bilgen also said it would not be possible for Kurds and Turks to live together without allowing Kurdish language and literature to be freely presented in the public sphere.
People at the gathering danced and sang to the music of well-known folk singers, despite the hot weather.


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