The recent operation targeting Kurdish media in Turkey resulted in 16 journalists being remanded in custody pending trial. Naturally it is not enough to simply say that every aspect of the Kurdish political struggle will continue to be subjected to an ever-increasing wave of attacks. There are two facets to these attacks. The first involves attempts by the Turkish state to smother the Kurdish political struggle, to block political moves that will give direction to Turkish politics. The second reflects the nationalist, chauvinist approach of the official ‘red lines’, the approach that finds its expression in the state’s 50-year-old formula, ‘Love it or leave it’. These two are not independent of each other; on the contrary they are parts of complementing strategies. Anyone who closely follows Turkish politics will confirm this.
It is not surprising that the policies of oppression and violence target Kurdish politicians and the Kurdish media, and in particular the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which constitutes the driving force of the struggle for democracy, and is represented in the Turkish parliament with the support of more than six million voters. It is not surprising, because the HDP retains its position as the most important actor for the coming elections. The votes of Kurds will determine who will be the loser or the winner in the competition for political power. This is the primary reason why the administration attacks every aspect of Kurdish politics with no regard for the law.
We must bear in mind that they also aim to disrupt the flow of information from the Kurdish provinces to the west of the country during the elections, and to render election fraud in the region, in which they will actively engage, invisible. Members of the administration know as well as we do that the journalists who are most familiar with the region are Kurdish journalists, hence their declaration of war on the Kurdish media.
It is indisputable that the tradition of the libertarian Kurdish press has risen on the wings of a great struggle, and the current situation can be better understood when one realises that the the opposing force in this struggle is the state and the reactionary administrations that govern that state.
In fact the AKP administration has declared war not only on the Kurdish media, but on the media in its entirety, and this war is also being waged in the west of Turkey.
As the scope of this war broadens, all parties who object to the policies of the administration, report on its corruption and reveal its unlawful practices, are faced with repression, violence and lawlessness. We are aware that when unlawful practices prove insufficient the mafia steps in, and journalists are subjected to attacks in broad daylight, as we have witnessed this time after time.
The administration however, is not content with this, and is preparing to get a new law, known to the public as the the ‘censorship law’, passed through the parliament. This new law will block news reports that even the mafia has been unable to thwart. This process could be said to be the mafia-isation of law.
The new law, presented to the public as a means of the ‘fight against disinformation’ will enable criminalisation of every kind of report including social media posts, punishable by prison sentences of one to three years. It will enable the blocking of news channels and websites. The expression ‘public safety’ included in the law make will virtually everyone vulnerable to accusations of ‘terrorism’ and ‘espionage’, with no restriction.
For ‘public safety’, read ‘interests of the administration’….
The recent operation against the Kurdish media and the incarceration of 16 Kurdish journalists are strongly indicative in this context.
The heavy price that the Kurdish media and media workers are being forced to pay is at the same time a message to journalists in the west of the country who define themselves as part of the ‘opposition media’.
The tradition of delivering messages to the entire population through the Kurds remains unchanged.
The heavy price of oppression and violence paid by the Kurds is watched and felt by the whole population so that they know what might also happen to them.
In the case that they silence Kurdish politics, which constitute the main pillars of the struggle for rights and freedoms, the whole of society will be silenced. It is the government that knows this best. Thus we may say that the policy of silencing the Kurds is a policy aimed at taking the whole of society captive.
It is highly disputable whether it is likely to succeed.
Let me finish by noting that it is idiotic to persist with a method that has been implemented time after time, each time in vain.