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Kurdish language, cultural rights would not weaken Turkey

Kurdish Observer, 31 May 2001

PKK Council of Leaders member Osman Ocalan said that leaving educational, broadcasting and cultural activities in Kurdish free would never divide Turkey but would, on the contrary, bring unity and togetherness to Turkey.

Making a statement to OZGUR POLITIKA, Ocalan said that development of the Kurdish language would not weaken Turkey but, just the opposite, lead to an increase in the voluntary learning and use of Turkish. Ocalan continued to say the following: "The reason for the resistance shown to Turkish in the environment of denial policies springs from the fear of their own national reality being destroyed. If the prohibitions against the Kurdish language are lifted, Turkish will be learned and used more. Therefore, the approach that Turkey will be divided or weakened is out of date. It springs from not recognizing the Kurdish reality. It is necessary to overcome this situation now, at the point which has been reached. At the point at which the threat of destruction is lifted from our language, we will begin a campaign for the development, learning, and use of Turkish."

Ocalan stressed that free activity in Kurdish education, broadcasting and culture would never divide Turkey and continued to say the following: "Forced unions always carry a heaviness within them. Voluntary unions, on the other hand, bring blending and unity. In any case, past history should have made the two sides comprehend this reality. Neither denial nor separations could win. Then what is necessary to do is not insist on policies which have proven their lack of success but lean towards new policies. This requires overcoming separation as much as it does overcoming denial. The economic, social, cultural, and political supports of the union are strong. It is not possible to divide or break into pieces a union with such supports. Whoever attempts to do so is engaging in futile efforts. But along with this, there is a Kurdish question. In other words, there is a people that cannot continue its national development. It is necessary to open this up."

Debates must lead to solution

Ocalan said that Turkey needed to solve the Kurdish problem, which had been giving it serious difficulties ever since the foundation of the republic, continuing to say the following: "Of course, the existing law of the republic, which has an oligarchic structure, is hindering solving the Kurdish national question. An important stage in solving the problem, along foremost with democratizing the republic, is lifting the ban on the language and carrying out activities in Kurdish education, broadcasting, and culture towards a solution to the Kurdish problem. A solution will develop if these national demands are met in connection with the democratization of the system."

Ocalan pointed out that those in Turkey who saw that the existing system was bankrupt had been searching for a solution in which, parallel with the development of a democratic system, the possibilities would be granted to develop education, broadcasting, and culture in one's native language. Ocalan continued to say the following: "If they do not want to lose another 80 years, in our opinion, acceptance of the opportunities to develop education, broadcasting, and culture in one's native language will be a gain for Turkey. The path to the development of a brotherly togetherness between the Kurdish and Turkish peoples will be opened. In this regard, the debates being carried on by a number of institutions, whether TUSIAD or in the framework of constitutional reform, etc., are positive, in our opinion. We are saying that we will develop our efforts along this line, acting on the need to turn the debates into a solution."

'Not days to wait'

PKK Council of Leaders member Osman Ocalan said that the democratic activities carried on in the context of the struggle for national and political identity would open the path for a solution, and renewed the PKK's previous call to raise this struggle higher. "The Kurdish people must take action to make the solution strong," Ocalan said, continuing to make the following comments: "In other words, the political, legal and democratic struggles must rise together and all the national dynamics must take action on this basis. These days are not days to wait. Acting from this, we are stating that the Kurds will either give sound birth to a solution by great activity and putting all their power into motion in the second half of 2001, or they will obstruct development of a solution, or if they don't obstruct it, leave it weak, by remaining idle." Ocalan said that the most important factor in making a solution possible would be for the Kurdish national movement to be active, even if without stopping at all for six months, and continued to say the following: "This is valid for all national circles, as much as it is valid for all those who work for our party. The time has come for a solution. While one dimension of solving the national question is development of mother-tongue education, press/broadcasting, and culture in connection with lifting the language prohibition, on the other side, along with the development of democratization, it is to solve the political problems, for the Kurdish people to take their place in both central authority and in administration of local authority, making it possible in the basic meaning to solve this problem which has become a Gordion knot."

'We must be ready'

PKK Council of Leaders member Ocalan said that while it was seen at Newroz 2001 that the Kurdish people had developed their ability for consciousness, organization, and action to the fullest extent, there were still a number of deficiencies on this subject. "It is necessary to find the answer to the question: Are Kurds ready on the subject of being active in education, broadcasting, and cultural activities in their own language?" Ocalan said, adding the following: "The preparation of our people on this subject is insufficient. Foremost, specialists and specializing at schools that will give education is necessary. It is necessary to overcome the problems in staffing in this field, no matter how much development their is in the press-broadcasting or training Kurdish teachers. The same thing can be said for cultural activities. For example, academies to train teachers must be opened in Europe, and again, press-broadcasting such as MEDYA TV must establish departments to train cadres and Kurdish culture institutions in Europe must make staffing preparations." Ocalan stressed that the PKK would more than fulfill its responsibilities in these matters, adding, "But all national circles also must work in cooperation towards such institutionalization. We must be prepared to make use of the opportunities which will arise with language freedom."

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