“International Symposium on Kurds in their Process of Identity, Culture and Change from the Ottoman Era to Today,”
‘Kurdish initiative should not be suspended by provocative acts’
10 September 2012 / TUĞBA MEZARARKALI/MEHMET TAYANÇ, BINGÖL – The final declaration of a recent symposium on Turkey’s Kurdish issue, attended by Turkish and international academics, authors, politicians and leading thinkers, says that Kurdish initiatives aiming to resolve Turkey’s long-standing Kurdish problem by meeting some of the Kurdish people’s demands should not be suspended due to provocative acts.
Organized by Bingöl University, the symposium, titled “International Symposium on Kurds in their Process of Identity, Culture and Change from the Ottoman Era to Today,” started on Thursday and ended on Saturday. It included 16 sessions, covering topics such as “Tendency to Justice: a permanent solution to the Kurdish issue,” “Looking at the Kurdish issue within the context of Muslim scholar Bediüzzaman Said Nursi’s conciliatory role in the March 31 incidents” — referencing a rebellion of reactionaries against the restoration of a constitutional monarchy — and “A Suggestion for a Solution to the Kurdish Issue: The example of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.” The three-day symposium resulted in 70 declarations.
The final declaration emphasized the hope that the Kurdish issue would be resolved in the near future by the common sense of the state and of all parts of society. “Initiatives like establishing a Kurdish TV channel within the state-run Turkish Radio and Television Corporation [TRT] and offering Kurdish as an elective course in Turkish schools should not be suspended by provocative acts. Some previous wrong practices have caused many prejudices among Kurds and Turks to emerge, and they did damage to our social peace. Despite this, it is not too difficult, as is thought by many, to abolish all the elements threatening our social peace,” it read.
Ramazan Korkut, an academic from Bingöl University, quoted from Nursi during the event, “My nationalism is my Muslimism.” Korkut commented: “I have known my nation as Muslimism for a long time and I have never dealt with Kurdishness leading us to the true path. Nursi says that our enemy is our ignorance, poverty and dissension. We will fight against these three enemies with the weapons of art, merit and alliance.”
Also discussing Gülen’s suggestions for resolution, another academic from the same university, Cengiz Yıldız, said that Gülen’s views, which are inspired by those of Nursi, suggest that Islam can never be associated with terrorism. Yıldız said: “According to Gülen, terrorism can never be the principal aim; it is merely a tool. And this tool is constantly being used against Turkey by some. When discussing ways to solve the Kurdish issue, Gülen always underlines that one can never reach the legitimate way through illegitimate ways and tools. Therefore, goodness only yields more goodness, while evil only yields more evil,” he says.