Noam Chomsky urges Turkey to end Kurdish conflict
Noam Chomsky, an American intellectual and professor of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), called on Turkey to end its war with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
The PKK has been fighting for the creation of an independent Kurdish region since the 1980s.
Chomsky emphasized that the the Kurdistan Regional Government's increasing independence in Iraq and the likelihood that Syria's Kurdish region could separate, if the country’s civil war worsens, put pressure on Turkey to confront its own Kurdish problem.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has expressed his willingness to hold peace talks with the leader of PKK, which is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey,the United States and the European Union, and has claimed to want to end a conflict that has claimed more than 40,000 since 1984. On January 9th, it was reported that the Turkish government and the PKK had agreed on a peace roadmap to end the conflict.
Chomsky acknowledged the prospects of peace offered by the recent negotiations, in spite of criminal efforts to disrupt them, a reference to the recent assassination of three Kurdish activists, one of whom was a founding member of the PKK, in Paris. Striving to avoid any possible links to the Turkish gov- ernment, Erdogan condemned the assassinations and claimed that they were caused by internal PKK feud and were, therefore, an inside job.
Chomsky criticised Turkey for jailing journalists, especially Kurdish ones. The Committee to Protect Journalists recently published a report accusing Turkey of being the country with the largest number of imprisoned journalists, surpassing countries such as Iran and China.
Chomsky made these statements during a lecture dedicated to the memory of Hrant Dink, an Armenian-Turkish journalist who was assassinated on January 19th, 2007, by a young Turkish nationalist, in broad daylight in front of the building of the weekly newspaper for which Dink was the editor-in-chief. Dink’s killer was condemned for premeditated murder and was given 22 years and 10 months in prison.
Dink published Chomsky’s writings criticizing Turkey’s handling of the fight against the PKK, which brought two trials for the publisher, as he was accused of violating anti-terrorism legislation and insulting “Turkishness.” He was acquitted in both instances.
In his lecture, Chomsky acknowledged Dink as a "brave martyr of freedom".