Exclusive Interview with EX-MIT Director on Kurds and KRG
BY BAWR CHAM
AMED-Turkey: Mahir Kaynak is the former director of the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (better known as MIT or Milli İstihbarat Teşkilati). Kaynak is also an analyst writing on the Middle East . In an exclusive interview with Rudaw, he gives his remarks on the Kurdish issue in Turkey and AK Party reform package vis-à-vis the (KRG).
RUDAW: How do you assess the recent clashes between PKK and Turkish forces?
Kaynak: I believe PKK with these attacks has started a political campaign. But these attacks are not in favor of Kurds and are irrelative to the Kurdish issue, even though Kurds are used here in these attacks by foreign secret services and hands are behind them. The [Justice and Development] AK Party is positively approaching the Kurds. Now the question is why PKK continue to attack? What do they want to achieve with these attacks? Do they want to hurt the AK Party? I believe they want to spread an opinion, which is: “Look! You are granting them their rights and see how they respond?” Spreading this opinion is what the [ Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK aims.
RUDAW: And how do you view the Turkish military’s assaults on PKK?
Kaynak: If there were armed activities military attacks will occur as well. Some people say, “you  halt your operations then we will end our activities”. Does this look logical to you? PKK carries out activities, attacks, etc… and the army responds. Could the army just stand by and not react to these attacks?
RUDAW: What sort of influences could these clashes between the two, have on the relations between Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Turkey ?
Kaynak: I believe it has a negative impact on the relations.
RUDAW: What about the BDP’s reaction to the AK Party’s reform package, do you see BDP reaction as healthy?
Kaynak: I believe that the reaction of the BDP was not wrong. They believe they have taken the right rout to deal with the package.
RUDAW: PKK asserts that, when they abandoned using weapons for a long time, nothing was done regarding the right of the Kurds to study in their language. Why has nothing been done in that regard?
Kaynak: Let us assume that Kurds study in Kurdish. Let us assume engineers, doctors, and the government officials speak Kurdish. Is this what you want? If that is what you want it is not a problem at all. But then where do these Kurdish speaking graduates work?
RUDAW: If they can find jobs with the Turkish language, why can’t they if they speak Kurdish?
Kaynak: Because Turkish is the common language. People who live here use Turkish as a common language. This has not been imposed on them. The ones that call the people of Turkey ‘Turkish’ are the Europeans. This civilization here is not a product of suppressing others. It is a product of all the people living in Turkey . But because Kurds have not been able to pass the f eu dalism era, they have not been able to incorporate themselves into this new civilization.
RUDAW: But ‘Common Language’ was installed under a lot of pressures and suppressions. For a long time anybody who spoke Kurdish was punished!?
Kaynak: That was a mistake. That mistake is not around any longer. That period has passed. In Turkey for example, among the music we listen to, Armenian, Jewish …etc could be found. Tribalism has kept the Kurds out in this regard. Kurds are citizens of Turkey . If you separate Kurds from other citizens of Turkey , do you think you are doing something good for the Kurds? If you know Kurds will be happy by studying in Kurdish then do so. But Kurds are not different from us. The tribe leaders do not let the Kurds be a part of the world.
RUDAW: Why, if Kurds study in Kurdish, would they be kept out of the world?
Kaynak: the mistake you always make is that you look at language as a very important factor. In the world those who speak in English are less than those who speak other languages.
RUDAW: You have been constantly saying ‘you’ and ‘us’.
Kaynak: When I say ‘you’ I mean all the Kurds. So why?
RUDAW: Do you support the incorporation of the into schools?
Kaynak: Kurdish must be taught, but you have to accept the outcomes of such a thing. There will be Kurdish speaking doctors and engineers. Kurdish has not yet become a language of science, but since you want to study in Kurdish, here you go; the door is open. If people demand studying in Kurdish then schools will be open; they can study both languages. Those who want to study in Kurdish they can do so, and those who want Turkish they can study Turkish.
I’m not against studying in Kurdish, but I think studying Kurdish wouldn’t help Kurds, and it will not help our citizens. They can use their language in their daily life. But our state has a standard language and that is how states operate throughout the world. The things you ask for can be found nowhere in the world.
RUDAW: Even in Spain ?
Kaynak: There could be something like that in Spain , but not in France . You can ask for a Spanish Model. But again, it is not in favor of the Kurds. Why do the Bosnaks, [an ethnic group living mainly in the Balkans] speak Turkish? Why don’t they hate Turkish? In the USA , French, German, Polish all speak English. But when you say ‘No! Let the Kurdish language to be a formal language of the state’, ok then let’s do so.
RUDAW: And what is your perception on banning those Kurdish names which include the “x or q” because Turkish language does not have these two letters?
Kaynak: The state has a standard alphabet. But anyone can name his/her children Kurdish names. If the names contain Kurdish letters it doesn’t have any negativity.
RUDAW: Let us talk about the American forces withdrawal from Iraq . Do you believe the US army will completely withdraw from Iraq ?
Kaynak: American soldiers will go home. And there will be a gap in Iraq . Kurds will stand on their feet. Iraqi Kurds would be either with Turkey or with their surroundings. But Arabs hate Kurds because they view the Kurds as the collaborators of the occupiers.
RUDAW: How does Turkey view the Kurds of Iraq ?
Kaynak: Turkey views the Kurds and Turks as of the same racial origin.
RUDAW: What will happen after withdrawal of American forces? Some people believe Iraqi Kurds will merge with Turkey ?
Kaynak: This is what they [Iraqi Kurds] believe. They can, if they choose to, ask for something like that.
RUDAW: If region becomes part of Turkey , what will happen then?
Kaynak: The Kurdistan region becomes a federal region, but Turkey stays as it is.
RUDAW: But at that point they will be within the same border, how could a part be federal, the other parts stay central?
Kaynak: Because Kurds live not only in the south east of Turkey but in Mersin, Ezmir, and Istanbul as well. Then what do these people do? Do we have to find a solution for them as well?
RUDAW: It is said that American army bases will remain in Kurdistan ?
Kaynak: No. There would be no American army base there. They will leave them [Kurds] face to face with the Arabs.
RUDAW: Will then Iraq become an even more conflict-ridden place?
Kaynak: America wants to divide Iraq . America wants an autonomous Kurdistan, but how autonomous that is something else. America will separate Kurds from Iraq .
RUDAW: if the Kurds seceded from Iraq , will America support Kurds?
Kaynak: Yes, America will support Kurds. But that is only my guess. I have no evidence for that. In order to stabilize the region, American will support them. Kurds have already separated from Iraq . Now they are completely separate. In Iraq Kurds live in a distinct region. But in Turkey , the Kurds situation is different. Kurds live all round the Anatolia .
RUDAW: If an independent Kurdistan is established, what do you expect to happen?
Kaynak: They will have Turks, Persians and Arabs surrounding them. They are obliged to work with one of them.
* Exclusive interview with ex-MIT Director on Kurds and KRG, par Bawr Cham