Letter's attack against Turkey unwarranted


In the Tuesday, April 18, 1995 issue of the Arizona Daily Wildcat you published a letter by Achyutram Bhamidipaty titled "U.S. should condemn Turkey's action." The issues addressed in this letter are not only far from the truth but also misleading for those who are not familiar with the real situation in the region.

As a Turkish citizen and someone who is familiar with the issues mentioned in Mr. Bhamidipaty's letter, I feel obliged to clarify the matter. Here I do not only intend to cite some historical facts, but also to encourage those of you who are interested to research and find out the truth for yourself.

Thus, I will make my points as clear and straightforward as possible:

1) Turkey is NOT and has NEVER BEEN engaged in a military campaign against people of Kurdish descent. The military operations are ONLY against PKK terrorists who are responsible of killing of more than 30,000 Turkish citizens (mostly of Kurdish descent) and several hundred military personnel over the last 15 years.

2) There is NO Kurdish minority in Turkey. All citizens of the Turkish Republic (irrespective of their ethnic origin) are equal and enjoy the full benefits of Turkish citizenship. The only ethnic minorities in Turkey are the non-Muslim residents from the Ottoman Empire period.

3) Turkey is the only country in the region where people of Kurdish origin live (Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey), that provides them with unrestricted social benefits and democracy. Furthermore, during the Gulf War, Turkey (despite its limited resources) was the country which has aided THE MOST to the Iraqi refugees of Kurdish descent. (Some of these refugees have not returned to Iraq and are still living in Turkey.)

Evidently, the problem Turkey has at the region is not with Kurdish rebels, but with PKK terrorists that kill more people of Kurdish origin than any other. Therefore, Turkey's action is not to be condemned but to be praised and supported by all who really do care about these people.

Kerini Erden GOKAY, M.D., NYAS

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