Make Distinctions on Turkey's Treatment of Kurds

The editorial "Turkey's Kurds," April 3, attempts to draw an unfair and untenable parallel between the situation of the Kurds in Iraq and in Turkey.

In striking contrast to the totalitarian regimes under which Kurds are suffering elsewhere, the Turkish government is a democracy. Every citizen of Turkey is equal, regardless of ethnic or religious background, and has the freedom to preserve and develop his or her language, culture, history, religion, and ethnic identity.

In the aftermath of the Gulf war, the attention and sympathy of the world focused on the plight of the Kurds in Iraq. In 1988, and again in 1991, Turkey did its utmost to assist Iraqi Kurds fleeing atrocities wreaked by their government.

Nonetheless, the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), a terrorist organization, has called for a general uprising to carve a Kurdish state out of Turkey. Its leader has announced from his headquarters in Syria that he "did not care if 100,000 people died" in the effort. PKK attacks on villages and cities in southeastern Turkey have flared dramatically. The local people are threatened, intimidated and forced to cooperate. Of the PKK's more than 2,000 victims to date, the majority are villagers who refuse to coll aborate.

Turkish security forces have responded with utmost restraint and have taken great care to avoid civilian casualties in combatting this terrorist threat. Turkey's borders are not negotiable and we will not make concessions to terrorism. The media must recognize the difference between the two distinct facets of the Kurdish issue: the humanitarian and the terrorist. Nuzhet Kandemir, Washington Ambassador, Turkish Embassy

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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