The latest anti-terror meetings have made it quite clear that all sides, with the exclusion of the PKK and HDP, believe it is the common fate of both Turks and Kurds to share the same land, values, religion and tradition
Last week, Turkey's civil society poured into streets and squares to condemn the terrorist activities of the outlawed PKK and protect the will to coexist peacefully. On Tuesday, the call for disarmament was made to the PKK on behalf of 553 nongovernmental organizations in eastern and southeastern Turkey, and on Thursday a march was held with the slogan "no to terrorism, yes to brotherhood," with the participation of 14 nongovernmental organizations, including the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB). And on Sunday, the Civilian Solidarity Platform (SDP) organized a rally titled "millions unite against terror."
Nongovernmental organizations' ability to display initiatives regarding the critical issues of countries is an indispensable part of democratic politics. We saw similar cases in the marches against the separatist Basque National Liberation Movement (ETA) in Spain and the Charlie Hebdo massacre in France. Such initiatives bring a breath of fresh air to the platforms where politicians and political parties are entrapped. From this aspect, they are not ordinary demonstrations. They are the positive responses given at periods when society thinks that an extraordinary or urgent case is experienced. They reinforce feelings of a common fate, shared values and the will to coexist peacefully.
It is obvious that such marches and rallies create a positive atmosphere in the current picture in which everyone sees their rivals as accountable for the restart of terrorist assaults, now on the eve of the Nov. 1 elections. As a matter of fact, those calls and marches are the reflections of a civilian common will, which is above and beyond party politics and becomes more definite with the theme of brotherhood. On the other hand, Kurdish nationalists' critical approach to these marches is thought provoking, which also represents a profound crisis.
People carried Turkish flags in the march led by TOBB, which was regarded as "racism and nationalism" by Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ. Moreover, Yüksekdağ described the march as a demonstration against the "Kurdish nation." The only feature in the march that disturbed Kurdish nationalists was not the Turkish flag. The discourse of brotherhood, which underlines common fate and coexistence, are also not favored. For instance, Tarık Ziya Ekinci said the discourse of brotherhood in the "no to terrorism, yes to brotherhood" slogan was "enslaving." "Kurds are not the brothers of anyone and do not wish to be. They wish citizenship with equal rights," he said.
The call of disarmament made on behalf of 553 nongovernmental organizations in Diyarbakır emphasized the religious fellowship under the umbrella of Islam based on the awareness of belonging to a religious community. It is not difficult to guess that Kurdish nationalists also did not favor the Islamic discourse of this call, since even Islamist Kurds have grown distant from finding the emphasis of Islamic fellowship and awareness of belonging to a community unifying. Some of them even go one step further than the PKK's image of Kurdistan.
Kurdish nationalists reject the discourse of brotherhood probably because they think Turkish nationalists are assimilating Kurds with this discourse. The rejection of the notion of brotherhood brings us to a discussion regarding what the thing is that holds Turkish society together. Kurdish nationalist discourse underlining equal rights and the Kurdish nation sets forth that there are two nations in Turkey, namely Turks and Kurds.
This discourse also mentions the Kurdish nation's right to govern itself and self-determination. They claim that the notion of democratic and equal citizenship will provide for coexistence. Such claims stem from theories of democracy, but ignore practical concerns. No matter how democratic they are, constitutions cannot produce the feeling of sharing a common fate. Even in democratic communities without any separatist terror activity, the will to coexist peacefully addresses moral and historical common feelings. Moreover, they have common symbols. Kurds' acquisition of their rights does not depend on the destruction or rejection of the same flag or feelings of brotherhood. In contrast, solidifying feelings of unity should also be targeted by Kurdish nationalists. Even though they acquire all democratic rights, Kurds' well-being in this country is closely related to our people's ability to empathize.
We should always keep in mind that brotherhood is the most impartial feeling that also stands as a source of empathy among our people.
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