The forensic report confirmed that he had been poisoned
The Kurdish issue caused the sudden death of "Özal" in1993 AD.
Currently, more than 20 million Kurds live in Turkey, and they constitute a percentage estimated at more than 20% of the population. After the Turkish military coup carried out by the Turkish military establishment under the leadership of General “Kanaan Evren” (Turkish: Kenan Evren) 1980, Kurdish nationalism suffered forms of racial discrimination and continuous national oppression. This happened when the Turkish government banned speaking the Kurdish language and fined those who spoke it in public and private life and stressed the prohibition of using the term “Kurd” or “Kurdistan”, and even prevented them from using names of Kurdish origin, as well as forbidding singing in the Kurdish language. The Turkish government issued a constitutional law legalizing the ban. There is no doubt that this is the result of the nationalist ideology of Turanian racism, which was established by the Ottomans and after them Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his successor Ismet Inonu in modern Turkey, which prohibited all non-Turkish minorities and nationalities from enjoying cultural, social and political rights in particular.
There were violent campaigns by the Turkish government targeting the Kurds, who demanded their rights, and the outcome was numerous massacres. Strict Turkification policies were practiced in harmony with the repressive tendencies of Ataturk with the aim of making Turkey a Western European country by destroying its eastern identity.
The conflict between the Kurds and the Turkish government was continuing, calming down at times and intensifying at other times. The repressive security solution was the one adopted in particular by the various Turkish governments, which gave the Turkish army a free hand among the Kurds, to announce emergency provisions in the Kurdish areas, and to establish military administrations and martial courts there.
The media campaigns launched by the Western press against the military rule in Turkey and its flagrant violation of public life, in addition to the demand of the Turkish masses to return to civilian life, led the Turkish President, General “Kanaan Evren” to declare in 1982 AD that the National Security Council has set a timetable for a return to democratic life. This is done by preparing a draft of a new constitution for the country and holding a referendum on it during the fall, and then preparing a new law for parties that organizes political and parliamentary life in the country. After holding the parliamentary elections and returning to civilian rule, three political parties won, two of which belong to the army. However, the result did not satisfy the Turkish army, as the majority vote was won by the Motherland Party (Turkish: Anavatan Partisi), which brought “Turgut Ozal” (1983-1993) to be prime minister. He began in the slow democratic process or “preparing the way” as described by the Dutch writer “Eric Zurker” in his book “The Modern History of Turkey”. During his tenure in the government, he tried to deal with the Kurdish issue with a new mentality that is ready for agreement and discussion, and to give Turkey’s Kurds the opportunity to discuss their issue from within, in an attempt to understand the reasons and work to reach realistic possible solutions. This was all away from the previous rulings and he also tried to belittle the Kurdish issue by ignoring the taboos that official policies had imposed on the subject. He gave them some cultural rights, partially lifted the ban on the Kurdish language, allowed them to publish publications in the Kurdish language and discussed the establishment of a federation between Kurds and Turks to solve the Kurdish issue. He was close to signing a peace agreement with them, but that matter met with strong official and unofficial opposition.
The Turkish republicans banned the Kurds from speaking their own language and fined anyone who spoke it.
The Turkish military establishment caused the Kurdish issue to be resolved by agreement and discussion.
Ozal’s sudden death halted the entire project. Some analysts believe that the cause of his death was a heart attack. It was recently proven after his body was exhumed and examined that he had died of poisoning. It seems that the Turkish military establishment has realized the danger of this to the republican legacy in Turkey, or what can be called the Kemalist deep state.
Those factors, racist methods and restrictions against Kurdish nationalism, in turn, contributed to the return of the Kurds’ organized military activity in the face of Turkish racist tyranny. This led to the outbreak of a violent war between the Turkish government and the armed Kurdish tribes, led by the Kurdistan Workers Party (Kurdish: Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan – PKK), which has been facing successive Turkish governments. This party was led by Abdullah Ocalan (Kurdish: Ebdullah Ocelan). Many battles took place between the members of this party and the Turkish forces. This led to the exodus of groups of members of this party to the rugged Qandil Mountains (Kurdish: Çiyayên Qendil) in Iraqi Kurdistan and the establishment of military bases for them. The Turkish forces often crossed the Iraqi borders to launch raids on the bases of this party. Battles and clashes continued from time to time between the aforementioned party and the Turkish forces, until the party leader “Ocelan” was arrested in February (1999) with the help of the Israeli Mossad.
- Ibrahim Al-Daqouqi, The Kurds of Turkey, 2nd Edition (Erbil: Aras Publications, 2008).
- Eric Zurker, The Modern History of Turkey, translated by: Abdul Latif Al-Hares (Beirut: Al-Madar Al-Islami, 2009).
- Kawthar Abbas Al-Rubaie, “Turkey and the Kurdish issue: The History, The Geography and the Future”, Baghdad, Al-Mustansiriyah University, The Political and International Journal, Issue 41-42, 2019.