Practically there is a war going on in Turkey. Carefully hidden from the eyes of the majority living in the west, this war is going on for decades in every perceivable level. People at large realize about this war once in a while when a group of soldiers were ambushed by PKK, and there are casualties. Media carefully hides opposition’s casualties and the fact that soldiers who died were not having a picnic there; they were on their way to kill.
During the last two decades the war even got uglier. The state took it to a different level where most attacks against Kurds were carried out by a stealth organization within the army called JITEM, and countless civilians were kidnapped, executed and put into mass graves mainly during the 90’s. But the state counts only its losses in the propaganda war, and out of habit forgets conveniently that all parties dying are its own citizens.
But here we need to investigate the concept of citizenship in Turkey more closely. In a country that claims to be a “republic”, citizens should be defined as all groups living under the same roof called the country. But Turkish state, in the line with its legacy from the Ottoman Empire has inherently have a different description. The citizenship rights are bestowed upon people whom are sunni muslims and at the same time beneficial to call citizens vis a vis the state. If you are not fulfilling these two criteria, you are not practically considered a citizen; either you are the subject of Ministry of The Foreign Affairs (as in the case of Christian minorities), or special courts take care of you as soon as you are deemed as a threat to the state.
In the genocide, Armenian population of Turkey were deemed as foreigners. Still today most Turks perceive the pre-genocide actions of Armenians as war against Turkey. Then there were the Greeks of Asia Minor and Pontus who conveniently deposed of through immigration and countless pogroms. Now a whole-scale war is fought against the Kurds, who fight only for their name and rights as a diverse people, in short as citizens.
As with every other war a state declares against its own people, all powers to be of the state are used indiscriminately against its own people. Throughout the recent history villages were emptied, people were exiled, jailed, tortured and forced to leave the country and seek asylum elsewhere. Writers, singers and opinion leaders were prosecuted on and off courts and their lives deemed intolerable.
As of this week, a full scale war has been launched against Kurdish guerrilla bases in northeastern Iraq. On the third day of warfare, cannons are being used against those in addition to aircraft bombing. Also several additional casualties were reported on the Turkish side as they were ambushed in transition in Southeast Turkey.
Also acts of violence are frequented by organized groups in major cities against people who could be identified as Kurds or against Kurdish institutions. Being a partner in many International organizations and a candidate of European Union, Turkey is in the verge of either implementing the bare necessities of being a modern democracy or to be identified as a vagrant state in global community.