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DATE=2/17/99 TYPE=ENGLISH PROGRAMS FEATURE NUMBER=7-31467 TITLE=JUSTICE AND THE KURDS BYLINE=JUDITH LATHAM TELEPHONE=619-3464 DATELINE=WASHINGTON EDITOR=SUSAN CLARK CONTENT = (TAPE CUTS IN AUDIO SERVICES) INTRO: THE CASE OF ABDULLAH OCALAN, THE FUGITIVE LEADER OF THE KURDISTAN WORKERS PARTY, HAS PUT THE KURDISH ISSUE ON THE FRONT PAGES OF NEWSPAPERS AROUND THE WORLD. (OPT) THE REBEL LEADER, WHO HAD BEEN ON THE RUN SINCE LAST OCTOBER, WAS SEIZED ON TUESDAY [2/16] IN AN UNDERCOVER OPERATION IN KENYA, WHERE HE HAD TAKEN REFUGE IN THE GREEK EMBASSY. MR. OCALAN WAS FLOWN BACK TO TURKEY, WHERE HE FACES A POSSIBLE DEATH SENTENCE. TURKEY INSISTS HE WILL RECEIVE A FAIR TRIAL, BUT TURKISH AUTHORITIES HAVE REFUSED TO ALLOW THREE OF MR. OCALAN'S DUTCH ATTORNEYS TO ENTER THE COUNTRY. ENRAGED BY TURKEY'S CAPTURE OF THEIR REBEL LEADER, KURDISH PROTESTERS HAVE STORMED GREEK AND KENYAN DIPLOMATIC POSTS THROUGHOUT EUROPE, TAKING HOSTAGES, BURNING EMBASSIES, AND EVEN SETTING THEMSELVES ON FIRE. THREE PROTESTERS WERE KILLED IN A CLASH AT THE ISRAELI CONSULATE IN BERLIN ON WEDNESDAY. (END OPT) TURKISH AUTHORITIES HAD BEEN TRYING TO ARREST ABDULLAH OCALAN FOR MORE THAN 14 YEARS. THEY CHARGE HIM WITH TERRORIST ACTIVITIES STEMMING FROM THE STRUGGLE FOR KURDISH AUTONOMY. WHILE KURDS FORM A SUBSTANTIAL MINORITY IN SEVERAL COUNTRIES, THEY HAVE NO COUNTRY OF THEIR OWN. SOME KURDS -- AND SOME OBSERVERS -- THINK IT IS THEREFORE IMPOSSIBLE FOR THEM TO BE TREATED FAIRLY. JUDITH LATHAM HAS TALKED WITH REGIONAL SPECIALISTS ABOUT JUSTICE AND THE KURDS. HERE'S _____ WITH A REPORT. TEXT: THE KURDS ARE AN ANCIENT PEOPLE. THEY ARE BELIEVED TO HAVE COME TO THE MOUNTAINS OF SOUTHWESTERN ASIA MORE THAN FOUR THOUSAND YEARS AGO. THEY HAVE NEVER HAD THEIR OWN COUNTRY. THEIR HILLY HOMELAND IS NOW DIVIDED AMONG TURKEY, SYRIA, IRAQ, AND IRAN. IN TURKEY, THE KURDISTAN WORKERS' PARTY, OR P-K-K, HAS WAGED A VIOLENT STRUGGLE FOR KURDISH AUTONOMY. A TURKISH GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN IN NEW YORK SAYS TURKEY HAS NO PROBLEM WITH ITS KURDISH CITIZENS AND DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST THEM. HOWEVER, HE ADDS, ANKARA WILL NOT TOLERATE WHAT IT CALLS THE "TERRORIST ACTIVITIES OF THE KURDISH COMMUNISTS" -- THE P-K-K. GRAHAM FULLER IS AN ANALYST WITH THE RAND CORPORATION, A WASHINGTON-BASED POLICY INSTITUTE. HE IS ALSO A FORMER U-S DIPLOMAT WHO SERVED IN TURKEY AND IN VARIOUS ARAB COUNTRIES. HE EXPLAINS THE SOMEWHAT COMPLEX POSITION OF KURDS IN TURKISH SOCIETY. TAPE A: CUT ONE -- FULLER (1:00) "IF YOU'RE A KURD IN TURKEY, YOU CAN BECOME PRESIDENT OF THE COUNTRY OR CHIEF OF STAFF, OR FOREIGN MINISTER -- AND INDEED THEY HAVE -- AS LONG AS YOU DON'T TALK ABOUT THE FACT THAT YOU'RE A KURD AND PUSH YOUR KURDISH IDENTITY. I THINK FOR A LONG TIME THAT HAD BEEN A SUCCESSFUL FORMULA, AND KURDS HAVE BEEN EXTREMELY WELL-INTEGRATED INTO TURKISH SOCIETY. BUT, IN THE CONTEMPORARY ERA OF THE WORLD WHERE WE FIND ETHNICITY ON THE RISE, KURDS THEMSELVES HAVE FOUND THEIR ISSUES OF IDENTITY GROWING AND THE DESIRE TO EXPRESS THAT IDENTITY LINGUISTICALLY AND CULTURALLY. AND, IT IS THAT INSISTENCE IN THE LAST SEVERAL DECADES THAT THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT HAS VIOLENTLY OPPOSED. A VERY RADICAL, ORIGINALLY MARXIST-LENINIST, MOVEMENT ERERGED IN THE EARLY '80' -- THE SO-CALLED P-K-K -- WHICH UNDERTOOK A GUERRILLA OPERATION AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT. RECENTLY THE FEAR OF THE KURDISH PROBLEMS AND KURDISH SEPARATISM HAS CAUSED THE GOVERNMENT TO CRACK DOWN VERY HARSHLY, NOT ONLY AGAINST THE KURDS BUT AGAINST THOSE WHO SPEAK UP IN DEFENSE OF THEIR RIGHTS." TEXT: ROJBIN TUGAN [ROHSH-BIN TOO-GHAN] PAINTS A MUCH GRIMMER PICTURE. MS. TUGAN IS A LAWYER FROM TURKEY. SHE RECENTLY TOLD A MEETING OF THE NEW YORK-BASED LAWYERS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS THAT TURKEY IS A VIOLENT LAND AND THAT IT IS PARTICULARLY SO IN KURDISH AREAS. HER CASES DEAL WITH TORTURE, INTIMIDATION, AND VILLAGE EVACUATION. MS. TUGAN SAYS SHE HAS BEEN HARRASSED, THREATENED, HER PHONES TAPPED, AND HER MAIL OPENED BY TURKISH AUTHORITIES. NEVERTHELESS, MS. TUGAN SAYS, SHE INTENDS TO CONTINUE HER LEGAL OBLIGATIONS: TAPE B: CUT ONE -- TUGAN (ESTABLISH TURKISH 0:05 AND FADE UNDER) TAPE A: CUT TWO -- ENGLISH TRANSLATION (0:16) "WHILE DEFENDING THE RULE OF LAW, I AM VULNERABLE TO UNLAWFULNESS. I GO ON WITH MY WORK THERE AS A LAWYER, KNOWING THAT ONE DAY I MIGHT BE THE VICTIM OF AN EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLING OR I MIGHT DIE IN A TORTURE ROOM." TEXT: IN IRAQ, CONDITIONS ARE REPORTEDLY MUCH WORSE. IRAQ CONTINUES TO DEPORT HUNDREDS OF ETHNIC KURDS AND OTHER NON-ARAB MINORITIES TO NORTHERN IRAQ, MUCH OF WHICH IS CONTROLLED BY KURDISH GROUPS. THE UNITED NATIONS HAS REPEATEDLY WARNED THE IRAQI GOVERNMENT TO STOP THIS PRACTICE. GRAHAM FULLER OF THE RAND CORPORATION SAYS THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION OF THE KURDS IN IRAQ IS FAR WORSE IN PRACTICE THAN IT IS IN THEORY: TAPE A: CUT THREE -- FULLER (0:49) "ON PAPER IT IS NOT BAD, IN THE SENSE THAT THE BA'ATHI REGIME IN PRINCIPLE AGREED TO A DEGREE OF CULTURAL AND EVEN POLITICAL AUTONOMY TO THE KURDS IN THE NORTH. HOWEVER, THAT WAS NEVER REALLY HONORED, AND THE BA'ATHI REGIME HAS BEEN SO INCREDIBLY BRUTAL THAT IT VERY QUICKLY BECAME APPARENT TO IRAQI KURDS THAT THIS WAS NOT GOING TO BE USEFUL. THEY HAVE NOT BEEN BROUGHT INTO THE COUNSELS OF POWER, AND OF COURSE THE HORRENDOUS MILITARY OPERATIONS, ALMOST GENOCIDAL OPERATIONS, AGAINST THEM BY SADDAM HUSSEIN IN THE LATE '80'S WAS DESIGNED TO REMOVE PEOPLE FROM A HUGE SWATH OF TERRITORY, TO DE-KURDICIZE IT, AND ALLOW ARABS TO MOVE IN AND ELIMINATE THE POLITICAL OPPOSITION. SO, IT'S CERTAINLY THE WORST REGIME IN THE ENTIRE ARAB WORLD." TEXT: JALAL AMIN ALI WOULD PROBABLY AGREE. MR. ALI, WHO IS KURDISH, WAS A FARMER IN THE KIRKUK REGION OF IRAQ, WHICH IS CONTROLLED BY THE GOVERNMENT. HE SAYS HE WAS NOT AT HOME WHEN IRAQI POLICE CAME TO ORDER HIS FAMILY TO LEAVE. SO, THEY TOOK HIS WIFE AND BABY TO PRISON AND SAID THEY WOULD NOT BE GIVEN FOOD UNTIL HE CAME TO GET THEM AND LEFT KIRKUK FOR GOOD. TAPE A: CUT FOUR -- ALI (KURDISH, WITH ENGLISH TRANSLATION) (0:21) "MR. ALI SAYS THERE IS NO RUNNING WATER, NO HEAT, AND NO ELECTRICITY IN THIS DERELICT HOTEL, WHICH HE NOW CALLS HOME. HE SAYS WITH NO JOB HE CAN BARELY FEED HIS FAMILY AND HAS LITTLE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE. FELLOW DEPORTEES FROM 120 FAMILIES SHELTERED HERE TELL MUCH THE SAME STORY." TEXT: ACCORDING TO KURDISH OFFICIALS, ABOUT 250 THOUSAND ETHNIC KURDS HAVE BEEN FORCIBLY EVICTED FROM AREAS UNDER IRAQI GOVERNMENT CONTROL SINCE THE KURDS' FAILED UPRISING AGAINST BAGHDAD FOLLOWING THE 1991 GULF WAR. GRAHAM FULLER ACKNOWLEDGES THAT THERE IS A CONSIDERABLE DISPARITY IN THE WAY THAT IRAQI KURDS AND TURKISH KURDS ARE VIEWED BY THE UNITED STATES. TAPE A: CUT FIVE -- FULLER "I WOULDN'T WANT TO USE THE WORD 'DOUBLE STANDARD,' BUT I WOULD SAY THERE ARE DIFFERING GOALS. THE FIRST U-S GOAL IN IRAQ IS TO DISLODGE SADDAM HUSSEIN, TO WEAKEN HIM, TO DELEGITIMIZE HIM, AND TO BRING ABOUT HIS FALL. AND THEREFORE THE UNITED STATES HAS SUPPORTED KURDISH AUTONOMY TO DENY THE REGION TO SADDAM. IN TURKEY, WHICH IS OF COURSE AN EXTREMELY CLOSE ALLY OF THE UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON HAS BEEN DISTURBED BY THE HUMAN RIGHTS PROBLEM, BUT HAS HOPED THAT A GENTLE APPROACH TO THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT WOULD BE MORE PRODUCTIVE THAN A HEAD-ON CONFRONTATIONAL APPROACH. I THINK BASICALLY THE U-S NEEDS TO REMIND TURKEY THAT FAILURE TO SOLVE THE KURDISH PROBLEM IS EXACTING VERY HIGH COSTS ON TURKEY. ECONOMICALLY IT'S AN EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE MILITARY OPERATION. DIPLOMATICALLY IT HAS BEEN VERY COSTLY. IT'S SEVERELY DAMAGED TURKEY'S PROSPECTS FOR ENTERING THE EUROPEAN UNION. IT HAS DAMAGED TURKEY'S REPUTATION AS A STATE COMMITTED TO DEMOCRACY AND WESTERNIZATION." TEXT: (OPT) GRAHAM FULLER SAYS THE QUESTION OF WHETHER THE KURDS SHOULD HAVE THEIR OWN STATE IS SOMETIMES RAISED. TAPE A: CUT SIX -- FULLER (0:37) "FIRST OF ALL, THERE ARE VERY CONSIDERABLE DIFFERENCES AMONG KURDS NOW, AND THEY'VE BEEN SOCIALIZED IN FOUR DIFFERENT COUNTRIES IN DIFFERENT WAYS. [THE] MORE IMPORTANT [QUESTION] IS: CAN GOOD GOVERNANCE CONVINCE THE KURDS THAT THEY ARE WELL OFF IN A COUNTRY LIKE TURKEY? I WOULD ARGUE, IF GOVERNMENTS CAN COME UP WITH GOOD GOVERNANCE IN THE SENSE OF SATISFYING THEIR MINORITIES AND THEIR CULTURAL AND POLITICAL ASPIRATIONS, THEN I DON'T THINK THERE IS A NEED FOR AUTONOMY. BUT, AS LONG AS THOSE RIGHTS ARE DENIED, AS LONG AS VIOLENCE IS USED AGAINST THEM, THESE STATES ARE SIMPLY HASTENING THE DAY WHEN SEPARATION WILL BE A REALITY. (END OPT) TEXT: THE KURDISH PROBLEM HAS ATTRACTED RELATIVELY LITTLE WORLDWIDE ATTENTION UNTIL NOW. THE ARREST AND TRIAL OF ABDULLAH OCALAN MAY CHANGE THAT. 17-Feb-99 1:28 PM EST (1828 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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