“Murderers, mafia members, heroin smugglers, rapists, thieves and swindlers can all get a clean slate when they declare that they too are enemies to Kurds; they are ‘purified’,” writes Ferda Çetin for Yeni Özgür Politika.
Internalised legitimacy is a critical tool that individuals and societies alike use to gain their strength. Those in power always go for this at the hands of society first, and when that fails, they work to tarnish it and cast doubt.
Suppose those involved with the media, literature, cinema (and art in general), together with unionists, writers and dissidents, stand by the state or the powers-that-be in their efforts to stain legitimacy. In that case, the job gets a lot easier, as a society can then be better manipulated.
Semra Güzel had posed for some photos with a friend from university, who later joined the guerrilla.
The photo that remained in the state archives for years and at the hands of state intelligence services was leaked to the media in today’s political climate.
A request to investigate Güzel was prepared with lightning speed. A summary was sent to parliament, where representatives from several parties both with and without seats in parliament, including the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and centre-right Good Party (IYIP), rushed to make statements calling for the lifting of immunity from the deputy of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP).
Those who have ever engaged in an electoral race, raining down insults on one another all day long, can forget about their conflicts in a single day. Because in Turkey, it is still profitable to be hostile to the Kurds and those who struggle for the freedom of the Kurdish people and accuse their representatives of terrorism.
So much so that murderers, mafia members, heroin smugglers, rapists, thieves and swindlers can all get a clean slate when they declare that they too are enemies to Kurds; they are ‘purified’.
Devlet Bahçeli, leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the man of least quality in the history of Turkish politics, regularly hosts mafia leader Alaattin Çakıcı in his office. He praises Çakıcı and takes photos with him. Not a peep from the Turkish parliament, not from the CHP, not from IYIP, not from their leaders Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Meral Akşener.
A mayor from the CHP treats Çakıcı as a VIP guest at the Edirne Municipality in the northwest. They take photos together. He gifts Çakıcı a portrait of Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. This visit and this photo also pose no issues for the CHP administration and Kılıçdaroğlu.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu takes photos with virtually all petty criminals and gang members, mafia leaders and drug traffickers. No outrage in parliament or among the public.
Alaattin Çakıcı, Mehmet Ağar, Korkut Eken and Engin Alan pose for photos in the Yalıkavak Marina in southern Bodrum. It turns out the former minister and chief of police Ağar and his son had taken over the marina unlawfully, and the photo was a show of support. This clear photo of a coalition between the state, the army, and the mafia does not seem to bother Turkey at all.
These photos, which were in the papers just this year, show those hostile to Kurds. There is peaceful ease among deputies and all of society that “they must have had their reasons” if these people took such photos.
It is normal for those running the state, such as interior ministers and mayors, to pose for photos with murderers, but the same is not true for Semra Güzel posing with a friend of hers.
Anybody who thinks there is no problem with the statement above lacks honour and dignity.
It is worse for Kurds who seem to say, “This is too far, if a deputy takes photos with a guerrilla, all would be fair game”.
Those at the head of the state, the Justice and Development Party (AKP), the CHP, the parliament and the courts are clearly telling us one thing: “Our mafia gangs, our nationalist, Turco-Islamist murderers are good and legitimate; the guerrillas fighting for the freedom of the Kurdish people are bad and illegitimate.”
This is not just a comparison of photographs. It is a face-off between the legitimate and illegitimate.
Count them by hand one by one, hold a referendum, whatever you do, the overwhelming majority of the Kurdish people will say they see the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as the freedom movement fighting for them. They consider Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan to be the founder of this fight, the one who organised it, and thus the legitimate leader of the people. They see the guerrilla as their own defence forces and protectors.
The Turkish parliament, the AKP, CHP, Turkey’s Constitutional Court, the Court of Cassation, universities, mosques, barracks, media organs… They cannot change these facts, nor can they substitute false and artificial structures in their place.
“Terrorism lists” devised by international powers that support Turkey can’t make a difference either.
PKK guerrillas are a source of honour and pride for Kurds in all four parts of Kurdistan, not just in Turkey. There is no overlap between how the rest of Turkey views the guerrillas and how Kurds see them.
To be able to visit guerrillas, to stand in their presence, to break bread together, to have conversations is a dream for all Kurds.
Semra Güzel taking a photo with a friend from university years later in guerrilla grounds is not something to be ashamed of, nor is it anything to avoid. They are things to celebrate, both the meeting and the immortalisation of the moment.
Those who believe President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s photos with mafia leader Sedat Peker, Bahçeli’s and the CHP mayor’s photos with Çakıcı, and Soylu’s photos with all the criminals are legitimate and normal while thinking Güzel’s photo with the guerrilla is ugly and illegitimate have already lost their humanity.
Those who prepared the summary against Güzel, the fascist mob giddy with excitement waiting for the vote to say yes, intelligence chief Hakan Fidan and his personnel who made the photo into a criminal issue should never have a doubt.
With pride, the Kurdish people hold and will continue to hold both the guerrilla and those who take photos with the guerrilla in the best corner of their hearts.