Grandson of the revolt leader Sheikh Said becomes candidate nominee for AK Party
by Merve Aydoğan
ANKARAMar 04, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Merve Aydoğan
Mar 04, 2015 12:00 am
While the upcoming June 7 general elections tops the agendas of Turkey's political parties, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) continues to announce diverse deputy candidate nominees in order to represent all segments of society, as stated by Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç. Following the announcement of candidacy of Markar Esayan, an Armenian-Turkish journalist and TV commentator, Abdurrahim Fırat, a Kurdish-Turkish lawyer and the grandson of Sheikh Said has announced his candicacy. His grandfather was the leader of the Kurdish Sheikh Said Rebellion, which was first major Islamic rebellion to re-establish the caliphate against the Westernizing reforms introduced in Turkey, which broke out in the Kurdish-populated provinces throughout Turkey and lasted from Feb. 8 to March in 1925.
Speaking to Daily Sabah, Abdurrahim Fırat said that the ruling AK Party is the unifying power of Turkey, and that his party supports the ideology of democratization and freedom for all citizens. While candidates from minorities as well as women and young deputies are to be announced on the AK Party's deputy candidate list in the upcoming weeks, Fırat also said: "The AK Party is a political party that receives votes from all sects and groups in Turkey." He also said: "[The AK Party] embraces all citizens of Turkey and it prevents the differentiating of its citizens." As a Kurdish-Turkish lawyer and a politician, Fırat also commented on the reconciliation process, which is one of the most significant topics on Turkey's agenda. He described the reconciliation process that was initiated by the government in 2013 with the agreement of a cease-fire with PKK as "the project of the century."
"The reconciliation process builds Turkish-Kurdish brotherhood and is a major step in Turkey's democratization process. The reform is an inevitable process for Turkey's unification, brotherhood and success for a bright future for the citizens of Turkey," Fırat said.
Commenting on being the grandson of Sheikh Said, Fırat said it is an advantage as the June 7 general elections approach. Sheikh Said was a Zaza leader of the Naqshbandi school, a major Sufi order. He led the rebellion against the Republic of Turkey in February 1925 as a result of the secularist reforms following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. The Westernizing reforms implemented by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk were sweeping political, social, cultural and religious reforms designed to separate the new Turkish Republic from its Ottoman predecessor, and embrace a Western way of living during the early 20th century. In the beginning of 1923, a series of laws progressively limited the wearing of religious clothing in Turkey, and on Feb. 25, 1925, Parliament passed a law stating that religion was not to be used as a tool in politics. As a result, Sheikh Said and a group of former Ottoman soldiers also known as Hamidiye soldiers, who were well-armed, Sunni Kurdish, Turkish, Turkmen, Yörük and Arab cavalries, as well as a number of notable Kurdish tribes, began a revolt throughout a vast part of the eastern provinces. However, by the end of March 1925, the revolt ended with the capture of Sheikh Said and 47 of his supporters who were tried by the well-known Independence Tribunals and hanged on June 28 of the same year. While many Kemalist individuals characterize the revolt as Kurdish nationalism, the grandson of Sheikh Said, who lives in the most Turkish nationalist province of Erzurum, announced his candidacy for the AK Party.