Another melting pot: Turkey

At the end of Mustafa Malik's opinion article ("It's the Kurd's turn for world recognition," Dec. 9) there is a footnote saying that he has just completed four months of field work in Turkey. It's disappointing that he has not been able to discover the truth about Turkey and its citizens of Kurdish heritage, even after spending such a long time in there.

Our firm has been involved in Southeastern Europe for a long time and I would like to present a seasoned view on the matter. To start with, there is no such thing as a pure Turk. Turkey is the melting pot of various peoples from Central Asia, the Balkans, Caucasus, and the Middle East. In this respect, it is much like the United States. There are approximately 30 different ethnic groups that have melded together to create the Turkish nation. Each citizen has the right to elect and be elected regardless of his/her background.

Presently, the Speaker of the Parliament is a Turk of Kurdish background and about one-fourth of the members of parliament are Turkish Kurds. The famed Turkish president, Turgut Ozal, was half Kurdish. Turkish is the official language of the country, but other languages, including Kurdish, are freely spoken and broadcasts made in those languages.

The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is not representative of the Kurds. If it were it wouldn't have made thousands of Kurdish civilians the target of its terrorist campaign. The majority of the Kurds have integrated into the mainstream society. Only a small minority would like to see their status downgraded to an ethnic minority. Ocalan has not been fighting for "the political and cultural autonomy of Kurds." He has been fighting to carve out a Marxist-Stalinist style country out of Turkey.

Mike M. Mustafoglu

Los Angeles

President, TransGlobal Financial Corp.

Most civilian victims of PKK terror have been Kurds who wished to have nothing to do with Ocalan or his PKK. Ocalan himself does not even speak Kurdish (he speaks Turkish), even after so many years of running an organization purported to fight for a Kurdish homeland.

The Kurds have exactly the same rights as every other citizen of Turkey and the same opportunities. Giving them minority status, where in fact they have all the benefits of the majority, can make sense only to those who wish to divide and weaken Turkey for their sinister purposes.

In any case, the road to even this doesn't pass through Ocalan or the PKK.

Erdal Atrek

Sunnyvale, Calif.

'enry 'iggins 'ad it right!

Kudos to Ted Rueter for his piece "English on the chopping block" (Dec. 7). Use of the "myself" affectation, together with other assaults on the grandeur of our noble tongue, seem epidemic on television. The psychology seems to be if it's on TV it must correct. The current errors of speech are not based on principles of oral interpretation as I remember them.

Other unusual affectations I have noticed include frequent stressing of small verbs such as "is," "was," "have," "do," and so forth. Stressing these verbs has only stylistic value if text is quoted in which the author has italicized the word. Unless based on this principle, stressing verbs is an editorialization of the message the announcer/reader has no authority to do. Furthermore, the message is distorted by stressing the wrong word in the sentence.

Historically, the English language is dynamic, adaptable, and ever expanding. This wonderful means of communication deserves to be respected, nurtured and cherished. 'enry 'iggins 'ad it right!

Rusty Lobell

Tustin, Calif.

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