Istanbul Attack: A Pro-Erdogan Speaks

By Shérazade Faynel, Translated by Emmanuelle Blénet
21 Mars 2016

We met with a Turkish teacher who preferred to maintain his anonymity. 45 years old, he lives in Izmit, Kocaeli, 90 kilometers east of Istanbul. When asking him to introduce himself, he describes himself as Turkish and Muslim. He says he tries to educate his students not only by teaching them his subject, which is English, but also by instilling in them how to be ‘a good person’, a great citizen. With them, he sometimes talks about what is happening in the Middle East. ‘What is the aim of the terrorists?’ and ‘What do they really want from us?’ are examples of questions he asks to provoke reflection.

Credits Kurdishstruggle / Flickr (CC BY)
Credits Kurdishstruggle / Flickr (CC BY)
Le Journal International: On Tuesday, January 12, ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack in the west of Turkey aimed at tourists, whereas two days later, on Thursday, January 14, the Turkish police was struck by the PKK (Kurdistan Worker's Party) in the south-east of the country. Are these differences a matter of geopolitics?

We are the most powerful country in the Middle East. All our neighbors are suffering political and economic troubles. You know about the situation in Syria. ISIS is trying to gain control over the territory by killing innocent people. The most interesting point is that they stress the fact they do so for Islam. I do not consider them Muslims.

The PKK is a terrorist group that has been killing innocent people for 30 years in the south-east of Turkey. The PKK does not represent the Kurds. In Turkey, we do not differentiate between ethnic groups. The Turkish people and the Kurds are brothers and sisters. We have thirty ethnic groups and together we defend Turkey in our war. We all respect Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his revolutions. ‘Peace in Turkey, peace in the world’ is part of this and we follow our beautiful leader.

JI: Isn't there a repression of the Kurds in Turkey?

The Kurds can do business in any city in Turkey. We have Kurds at every level of our Republic. We have Kurdish ministers and more than 150 Kurdish deputies in the National Assembly, not only in the southeast of Turkey, but also in different cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, Adana, etc. The Kurds do not represent a second class. So, what does the PKK really want? Who is part of it? Which are the countries defending it? These questions are really important in order to understand what is happening in Turkey.

JI: What you are saying is surprising … We heard about massacres by the Turkish government of the Kurds. It seems that Kurdish demonstrators have been violently suppressed by the police. Protests are taking place in France to raise awareness of these repressions. Isn't this the reason for the demands from the PKK?

When I was travelling in Europe, many of my friends asked me the same question. Many militants of the PKK have migrated to Europe to spread their propaganda. They are not Kurdish citizens, but murderers and enemies of the Turkish Republic control them. Turkey developed rapidly a long time ago, but the PKK wants to stop it. The government built a factory in the southeast of Turkey but the PKK exploded it. If teenagers can find work, they will not be able to take them to mountain camps and make militants of them. They stress the fact that they are fighting for the Kurds' liberation.

JI: The PKK seems to participate in the fight against ISIS. What do you think about this?

Both are murderers. They are using weak people without education to reach their goal. A murderer is a murderer, no matter how many people he kills. There is no difference between them.

JI: What could be the solution to combatting the terrorism striking Turkey and many other countries?

Our country is leading a campaign against the terrorist organization in Turkey. We must remain united against terrorism, not only in Turkey, but also all around the world. Unfortunately, European countries only unite when a terrorist attack strikes France, Germany or certain others. I wish they would be honest and respond in the same way to every nation and every religion. We respect every religion and every nation and we would like the same in return. Muslim does not mean terrorist.