Are Kurds and Turks brothers?

What is the meaning of brotherhood? This word works like a magic speech in every context of any crisis or political process. As a matter of fact this word has been raped by civilization itself since the brother murder of Cain and Abel (Cain killed his brother Abel out of jealousy). They were actually brothers! Needless to say that brotherhood is the most cliché, and been used by sovereigns.

On the other hand the German philosopher and poet Nietzsche says “Friends are our brothers, whom we picked with our own hands”…

I was born in Agiri in the east of Turkey. We Kurds call Serhed, a large territoria inside the north of Kurdistan (east turkey), part of Kurdistan. What did I just say? Oh yes Kurdistan! Yes, this word unlike brotherhood is a most unfortunate speech in its own place that I’ve ever seen! All the time Turkish authorities used to put it as the brotherhood way. But people should understand that the Turkish state kills the Kurds while saying we are all brothers. 

Who is discriminating?

Also by saying that “Kurds and Turks are brothers, but it is the treachery that discriminates.” So who’s discriminating? Obviously in that case the PKK (the Kurdistan Workers’ Party) has been blamed. Ever since I could remember I have heard this slogan from the biggest fascists, Turkish killer cops and allies of the Turkish state.

When I was just a teenager in Cizre, a town that has been devastated by the Turkish army, cops and special team members who obviously are in an alliance with the Turkish MHP (Ultra Nationalist Movement Party), they used to hang MHP fascist symbols and flags on army vehicles and scream: “We are all brothers, aren’t we?” 

Meanwhile, all prisons are full of political Kurds, is Kurdish language strictly forbidden by the Turkish law system, as well as speaking, singing, wearing or even whistling in Kurdish. The Turkish constitution clearly defines that there is no Kurdish identity or something alike. Even in Japan Kurdish language schools have been shut down by Turkish state pressure. Kurds have been killed by ordinary Turkish citizens or cops all the time. But we’re all brothers!

Now I suppose this kind of brotherhood is not a such a good thing to endure!

Recently two remarkable things took place in Turkey and almost everybody started to talk about Kurds again. On the day Turkish authorities let Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan’s lawyers meet him, the Supreme Council Of Elections (YSK) revealed the municipality local election will be re-run on 23 June this year. Then the noisy confusion got started. Most of well-meaning Turkish folks contemptuously begun to talk about Kurdish voters. Because according to the election tactics of the HDP (People’s Democratic Party) in the west of Turkey, Kurds gave their votes to the main opposition party CHP. And thanks to Kurdish votes the CHP won in big cities like Istanbul, Ankara, Adana, Mersin and Bursa.

Hunger strike

The local elections showed the opposition that Erdogan as a big stone can be shaken. But both allowing lawyers of Öcalan to meet with their clients and the decision of YSK made CHP voters think about 23 June again. That’s why CHP voters begun to worry about the Kurds. As though the Kurds have just one the agenda to take care of it. The debates were as though HDP and Kurds have no integrity, willingness or consciousness to vote right again. It was like a contemptuous debate that took place in front of the Kurds. Because Öcalan gave a peace message in his short letter and this might have been cooperation with AKP and Erdogan! That made them have  such superficial thoughts. Because there would have to be tremendous changes across the country in order to collect HDP-Kurd’s votes like releasing Öcalan and all political prisoners, removing fascist rules from both the legal system and practice. 

But of course there’s no intention in this way at all. Besides there are 3000 Kurds in the prisons and the broad hunger strike for almost 200 days. The prisoners´ mothers have been dragged, beaten, arrested and tortured by the Turkish cops. Maybe Turkish society don’t know anything about it, but the Turkish state does. And Kurds knew that they will have to open Imrali Prison’s doors somehow but it was not a satisfactory answer for the KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) and Kurds. That’s why the hunger strikes continue. 


But the point is the CHP and the elite Turkish voters are approaching. As a famous Kurdish-Turkish poet called Cemal Sureya says: “Kurds have to lie”. And now Kurds have to prove themselves to Turkish top identity all the time. No matter what happens they are obligated to prove their integrity, clarify their innocence and comply with the Turkish dominant view. Mr. Öcalan calls that fascism of the white Turks. All their fear is that Öcalan will instruct the Kurds to give their votes to the AKP. As though 3000 people are not participating in the hunger strikes across Europe and in Turkey’s prisons. As though Kurds don’t have any different agenda. As though Kurds and Turks have the same political and equal rights in Turkey. The Turkish people have been beaten up in recent years and that’s why they need a new hope to stick up for. Since the Gezi uprising Turks have almost lost terms like struggle, gain, resistance and democratic rights. That’s another reason for their astonishment against the Kurds and Mr. Öcalan meeting with his lawyers.

Besides, Mr. Öcalan has the right to meet with his lawyers according to all rules both in Turkey, and Europe. No matter what plans the Turkish state has in Imrali, the KCK statement doesn’t pay attention to AKP’s tricks. What they try to convince the Kurds and the world of is the brotherhood between Turks and Kurds. Whereas their actions so clearly show something completely different. Not necessarily to be really brothers if it doesn’t happen somehow. Just we’d better don’t kill each other like Cain and Abel, then it’s going to be an humble step toward friendship.

Mehmet Sezgin

Mehmet Sezgin (1981, Agri, Turkije) is politiek activist en journalist. In Turkije schrijf hij voor linkse (Koerdische) kranten en tijdschriften over politiek en filosofie. Ook was hij hoofdredacteur van het filosofiemagazine Democratisch Modernisme. Mehmet woont sinds 2017 in Nederland en levert regelmatig een bijdrage aan RFG Magazine.