Islam remains bonding factor for Turks and Kurds

Published 14.06.2016 23:22

No wonder the PKK terrorists are targeting mosques, religious schools and imams in southeastern Turkey in their latest terror campaign. A recent study shows that Islam remains the glue for Turks and Kurds and the PKK is making a serious effort to pull apart this glue.

Despite futile efforts by the Kurdish-nationalist Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) to portray their movement as friendly to Islam, the PKK has poured water over all this and is targeting Muslims and Islamic values. The fact that the PKK dominates the HDP, the efforts of the HDP to befriend Islam has badly failed.

HDP Diyarbakır deputy Altan Tan has lamented the fact that his party has distanced itself from Islam and has complained that Muslims are not properly represented in the party. He said this could lead to divisions and the establishment of a new party by pro-Muslim Kurdish politicians who want to stay a part of Turkey but want rights for Kurdish citizens. Tan said conservative Kurds do not approve of the latest policies of the HDP.

This is no surprise. The PKK does not want a Turkey where Turks and Kurds live together. The PKK wants to create a separate Kurdish entity in Turkey that will eventually join with the Kurdish entities in Syria and Iraq and create greater Kurdistan. The HDP has unfortunately tagged along with the PKK and did not or could not resist this policy.

However, a public opinion survey conducted by MAK Danışmanlık corporation in southeastern Turkey mainly among Kurds shows that the main thing bonding Turks and Kurds together is Islam. The survey conducted in the southeastern provinces through face to face interviews with 2,500 samples has shown that 34 percent of those interviewed feel Islam is the main bonding factor that keeps Kurds and Turks together. Among those interviewed 22 percent said the fact that they were all born on the same land is a bonding factor while another 22 percent said historical ties between Turks and Kurds are what links them together.

The survey shows that despite the PKK's anti-Muslim propaganda, the people of southeastern Turkey have refused to give up Islam and have opted to remain part of the country.

That is why the PKK has bombed mosques and schools where the Quran is taught and has tried to dissuade people from going to mosques. PKK members have tried to terrorize the locals and prevent them from going to mosques. The PKK sharpshooters used minarets as bird's nests to shoot people from. PKK militants have entered mosques in their boots and have burned Qurans and turned places of worship into their local headquarters. The PKK's performance has only served to show the true face of the Marxist PKK and that it has no regard for Islam and God. The policy has backfired in southeastern Turkey.

The PKK has not been able to dissuade the southeastern masses to turn their backs on Islam. The people have seen the true face of the HDP and PKK after the June 7 elections and thus have been alienated. This is the secret behind the fact that Kurdish conservative votes have returned to the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and contributed to its landslide victory on Nov. 1.

Before the Nov. 1 elections, the government brought together religious leaders from the southeastern provinces and listened to their grievances and problems. Government officials emphasized the importance of national unity and solidarity and the fact that the PKK is strongly against Islam. That too contributed to the AK Party's success at the polls.

What is disturbing, however, is the existence of some local Kurdish imams who seem to be PKK sympathizers along with some teachers who are encouraging Kurdish youth to take to the mountains and fight against the state. This is an issue that the Office of the Presidency of Religious Affairs (DİB) should look into.

A majority of imams in the region have braved PKK terrorist threats and managed to keep their mosques open. However, the actions of these imams with PKK affiliations have to be halted. This means the local authorities should look into this issue and act accordingly.

Despite all this we are extremely happy to see that Islam remains a factor that brings this nation together.

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