Both Kurds and Armenians have decided not to accept the policy of imposed Turkish identity any more, Fréderike Geerdink, the only foreign journalist settled in Diyarbakir, said in an interview with Agos daily.
“The position of the Armenians and Kurds perfectly explains the foundations of the State of Turkey. The imposed Turkish identity is of both an inclusive and exclusive character. The policy towards the Kurds has always been forcefully inclusive: you HAVE TO be one of us, you have to be a Turk, and this is because Kurds too are Muslims. Towards the Armenians the policy was explicitly exclusive: You are not Muslims, so you can never be a part of us. Not only with concrete measures like the Wealth Tax, but also with psychological warfare, picturing Armenians as traitors, as enemies within,” she said.
Geerdink said she learned about this in the days after the murder of Hrant Dink. “He was murdered when I had been in Turkey for only a month, and I spent days in front of Agos, making one of my first big stories as a Turkey correspondent, for which I talked to many Armenians. I was so impressed by this grief, and the people I talked to were so good in explaining the situation of Armenians in Turkey, it was like a crash course for me. I still get goose bumps when I think back to those days.”
“But both Kurds and Armenians have decided not to accept these policies any longer. Hrant Dink did so much to make Armenians more visible, to take away their fear of showing themselves, and the Kurdish movement has done the same for Kurds. Both groups are making huge contributions in helping break down the State system that cares only for the State and not for the people. One day this will lead to, I hope, a beautiful result, a democratic Turkey,” she said.
Fréderike Geerdink, the only foreign journalist who is settled in Diyarbakır, and who has lived in Turkey since 2006, has recently published her book ‘Roboskî: Gençler Öldü (Roboskî: The Young Died)’ on the massacre the families in Roboskî faced. The book focuses on this massacre to delve into the history of the Kurdish question, and also follows Geerdink’s personal story of confronting the issue as she lived for many months with the Roboskî families.