“We want Peace: Not Only in the East, but in the West as well, Prime Minister”

12.07.2013
Translated from Turkish by Translators for Justice
Source: http://www.bianet.org/bianet/bianet/148454-sadece-doguda-degil-batida-da-baris-istiyoruz-basbakan

In the letter written to the Prime Minister by Muharrem Cici, the director of Human Rights Association in Bingöl, it says: “We did not want to bury the young people in the west day by day while the ones here are not dying anymore.”Muharrem Cici, the head of the Human Rights Association in Bingöl, said in the letter to the Prime Minister Erdoğan; “We did not want to bury the young people in the west day by day while the ones here do not die anymore. This is not the peace we want.” Paragraphs that started with “Welcome to Bingöl, Dear Mr. Prime Minister,” continue with the statements like “We do not want deaths. We want Gülsüm Koçlar not to serve a life sentence because of conviction. We want camera records not to come to nothing. The letter ends with the sentence of “We want peace”.

“This is not the peace we want”

The whole letter can be seen below.”Welcome to Bingöl, Dear Mr. Prime Minister. It is always asked “How are you?” in the prologue of every letter. We sincerely wonder “How are you?” The people of Bingöl really love you so much I guess, as they welcome you enthusiastically every time. It is quite normal for you to take a fancy to these enthusiastic welcomes but why do you change so suddenly when different voices show up? Why can’t you tolerate them instead of storming out? Isn’t being met by protests as normal as being welcomed enthusiastically?

“The airport is actually an important need and in this sense, it is a must this need be satisfied. At least it is definetely a fact that the airport is a much bigger need than the police stations recently built. I don’t want to talk about anymore on this issue especially on primitive life that our people were made to lead after you left the town, the water system in the town that was fixed and refined when you arrived and what we went through in Bingöl on the whole, which you were most probably not informed of and which was hidden from you. You may think I am telling you these because of the party’s own benefits, but if only you could lend an ear to the drought, corruption and what we’ve been through in the words of the folk, and in the words of grassroots of the party.

“Welcome to Bingöl, Dear Mr. Prime Minister, before you, the Wise Men (Akil Adamlar) had come, who we, as people longing for the peace for years, thought as peace envoys. Yet, hear what the local people say; they do not want only ‘just a peace,’ what they want is not just a symbolic peace, many especially use the term “permanent peace.”

“Yes, we have felt excited and hoped that within this period; it is important that our people don’t die, and the talk of massacres and killing in the news come to an end. It is a precious progress that tells that what a good notion peace is. Everyone has expectations and doubts; I individually think and hope that everything turns out all right; however, there’s an obvious issue that we’d never want.

“Welcome to Bingol, Dear Mr. Prime Minister. When we refer to peace, we did not just mean “Peace with Kurds”. We wanted the government to make peace with all the ‘human,’ differences, and the opposition: This is the only way to establish permanent peace. We did notask for any conflict with people living in the West while peace prevails among those in the East. We do not want to bury young people in the West while people here are not dying any more. This is not the kind of peace we want. We want collective peace.

“The people in the East have chanted slogans during all their protests, but they never said ‘Long live Kurds, long live Kurds’ rights!’ Even in the most dissident protests, they said ‘biji bratiye gelan’, which means ‘long live brotherhood of people’. Therefore, I do not think peace can be achieved in this way.   “Welcome to Bingöl, Dear Mr. Prime Minister. Having seen the photos of the mothers, whose sons died in the West, embracing each other, how can I feel optimistic about peace? Seeing a 19-year-old boy being killed has affected me so deeply, and what will happen to those under intensive care, what about the ones who died? Can this be the place where the peace is being discussed? Wouldn’t things have been different if you had acted a little more calmly, talked a little more thoughtfully like you were told to? Wouldn’t things have cleared up if a balcony speech had been delivered like the one that was given some years ago, since a speech like that one gave reassurance and you can rest assured that no one would have thought that you have backed up but would rather have started to have faith because you have dealt with this situation with utmost care.

“Welcome to Bingöl Dear Mr. Prime Minister. I would like to talk about the incidents and deaths that take place in the east. What we go through kills our children. The main reason of the war in the east is that the people are not rightfully understood by the government, the people having been ignored by the government for years and government’s all sorts of compulsions which you mentioned many times.  However, do not you feel that the othering of, violence against and disregard of different opinions of people in the west are the same mistakes that had been made in the east?

“We want peace Dear Mr. Prime Minister.

“To Kurdish people, to Turkish people, to Kemalist people, to the people from left wings, to the people with headscarf, to the sexual minorities, to Alawites, to Sunnis, to Atheists, to the radical bigoted people…

“We don’t want anybody to die. Not only in Palestine, Egypt or Syria, but first our children in the east and the west. Especially, we mustn’t kill them with our hands. Today, we do not want anybody to fake grief and then to start their sentences with “but”s in order to blame the victims. We do not want any other Gulsum Koc to be sentenced lifelong or any camera records to be lost out. No matter who they are, we should have the esteem for the generalnotion of being human.

“We want peace…” (BK)

Utku Türk

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