writes Nubar Ozanyan for Yeni Özgür Politika.e are well aware of these heinous attacks that have continued for a century. Our people, the Armenian community, knows very well what racism is as they have been hit brutally by racism, as they have been subjected to massacres,”
They know that these attacks have plagued humanity. They know it from the Armenian youth who were beaten with stones, sticks, punches and kicks, and left in blood in Diyarbakır’s (Amed’s) Xançepek neighbourhood. The oppressed have no choice under the attacks of furious crowds but to resist with loneliness, desperation and fear.
Throughout the history of the Republic of Turkey – exactly 130 years – there have been endless fascist attacks against Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Kurds, Yazidis and Alevis. Today, heinous attacks against Kurdish agricultural workers take place during every season. Kurdish workers from Diyarbakır, Urfa (Riha) and Mardin (Mêrdin), travelling to Ordu, Balıkesir and Afyon to work for their livelihoods, are subjected to attacks and accused of ‘speaking Kurdish.’
The Kurds are exposed to attacks by the Unionist-Kemalist state simply because they speak in their mother tongue, sing in Kurdish, listen to music in Kurdish, and come from Amed, Mardin (Mêrdin), and Kars (Qers). No one can treat these attacks as isolated incidents or as individual attacks of “sensitive citizens.” It should be pointed out that these are racist-fascist attacks relying on state policy.
In around 280 racist attacks that occurred in the last ten years in Turkey, at least 15 people lost their lives and 1,097 people were injured. Discrimination, hate speech, polarizing society are the keywords of the Turkish language.
You may define these racist attacks as ‘hate crimes’ or not, but all these attacks have at least one thing in common: that the Unionist-Kemalist dictatorship usurp all fundamental rights and freedoms of the Kurdish people. These attacks are an attempt of Turkification forced upon the Kurds. These attacks are the reflections of tyranny, ignoring the rights and freedom of the Kurds. Similarly, it is a policy to sow discord among the workers to undermine unity and solidarity between Turkish and Kurdish workers.
The mentality of the Turkish state is racist and fascist. The mentality of the workers, peasants, intellectuals, artists, and leftists in Turkey have been contaminated by racism.
Racism is prejudice and discrimination towards a person’s or a group’s ethnicity, colour, identity, beliefs, and gender. In fact, it is an ideological problem built on the hierarchy of social classes. It is the marginalisation of the ‘other’ by the people who speak the same language and share same ancestry, because the ‘other’ does not share their language and their ancestry.
Racism in Turkey peaked after the establishment of the nation-state which organised systematic attacks against non-Sunni-groups and promoted endless hostility towards Armenians, Kurds, Arabs, Greeks, Assyrians, Jews, Georgians and Laz peoples.
Armenians, Arabs and Roma have always been seen as “scumbags” and Kurds have always been “terrorists.” In a country where there is such hate speech, the discourse of fraternity is based on lies and is fake. In a country where inequality between peoples is so deep, the discourse of equality is fake.
The slogan of ”the fellowship of peoples” means nothing but the continuation of the privileged status of the ‘Turks.’ Equality of the people, freedom of the people and peoples’ right to self-determination are essential rights. The rest is deceitful.
Everyone should pay attention to the words of a Kurdish mother after the murder of 33 revolutionaries in Suruç: ”I wish that bomb had exploded here at our place. We, the Kurds, are used to it. But those people from the West were our guests. I wish we were dead. What are we going to tell their mothers now?” Such compassion and self-sacrifice is like a Kurdish slap on the dark face of racism.