- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 9, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Turkey and the PKK

The Turkish Republic has denied the existence of the Kurdish people and their basic natural rights since its founding. The Turkish government has responded to any complaints or demands from Kurds with guns, deportation and jail. The constitution of Turkey is framed for one nation, one ethnicity (Turkish), one language (Turkish) and one religion (Sunni Islam — Hanafi). With that in mind, it is not hard to comprehend the current conflict in the region. No one should blame anyone but Turkey for this conflict (“No New Year’s Eve bash,” Op-Ed, Jan. 1).

In 1984, after the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) resorted to armed struggle, it became very popular in a short period despite its awkward ideology and negative outlook toward Kurdish culture, tradition and history. The Turkish regime’s brutality and oppression was fundamental to the PKK’s popularity.

During the PKK-Turkish conflict from August 1984 to June 2007, 37,979 persons were killed. The number of wounded soldiers and state supporters was 13,327, while the number of wounded civilians was 7,620 or 20 percent. Security forces were responsible for killing 26,128 PKK fighters and followers, or 68.8 percent of the total. The PKK was responsible for 11,851 or 31.2 percent of the fatalities, according to the Turkish state.

Additionally, in the 1990s about 20,000 civilians — mostly Kurds — were killed by so-called unknown assailants, but several Turkish parliamentarian commissions blamed state-sponsored gangs for these deaths. Those who love Turkey should support democracy, pluralism and peace in Turkey — not war. In addition, blaming the Kurdistan Regional Government or President Masoud Barzani for this conflict is unfair and harmful to American regional interests because the Turkish government’s record speaks for itself.

AMED DEMIRHAN

Federal Region of Kurdistan Iraq

Grantor’s tax increase

The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR) backs the increase in the grantor’s tax home sellers pay because they have no skin in the game (“Northern Virginia Realtors back tax,” Business, Saturday). I bet NVAR would not have supported an increased tax on Realtors’ real estate transaction revenue, which could be passed through to the seller or more easily shared by the broker. Perhaps that could have been a better option.

JOHN FEROLDI

Oakton

Securing the border

Usually I don’t pay much attention to newspaper editorials, but I found myself closely reading the one in your Jan. 2 issue about the latest positions of the presidential candidates on illegal immigration (“The candidates and illegal immigration”).

It’s perfectly obvious that they think open borders are wonderful, even if the American people do not. The real task is to figure out how to make noises about the border but still run business as usual.

There was a time when enforcing the law at the border or elsewhere was not always a matter of controversy. I came across a pop-culture example by chance recently. In 1959, there was a new television show, “Border Patrol,” about the brave people who guard our borders. They didn’t go to jail or anything. The lead was played by the late Richard Webb, whom an older generation may remember as the TV-hero “Captain Midnight.”

JOHN LOCKWOOD

Washington

Iranian behavior in perspective

The latest incident in the Strait of Hormuz demonstrates how easily conflict can flare in that region (“White House calls naval face-off ‘provocative,’” World, yesterday).

Though aggressive action by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard cannot be justified, the buildup and activity of American, British and French forces on Iran’s land and sea borders inevitably will lead to such flash points, any one of which could trigger a much wider military conflagration. Direct comparisons are hard to make, but I wonder how the U.S. Navy would react if Iran had stationed three aircraft carrier groups off the coast of Maine, was building military bases in Canada and was conducting routine patrols in the Gulf of Mexico.

STEFAN SIMANOWITZ

Chairman

Westminster Committee on Iran

London

Democrats deny Americans oil resources

Mona Charen’s column “Free heating oil gush” (Commentary, yesterday) on former Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy’s acceptance of oil from Venezuela’s would-be dictator Hugo Chavez is right on the mark. In his television spots, Mr. Kennedy justifies this by saying, “Some people think it is bad politics to accept it” and “I say it’s a crime against humanity not to.”

The bad politics and the crime against humanity are being committed by the Democratic Party. Despite rising foreign oil prices, the Democratic Party is withholding American oil resources from the American people, who own those resources, by, for example, refusing to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Every time I go to the pump, I think how the Democratic Party has increased the price of gas by withholding American oil resources from the market and the American people. It is a virtual tax on every American, much of which goes to the Middle East and some of which goes to finance terrorism. Why Republican candidates for president aren’t shouting this from the rooftops, I’ll never know.

JOSEPH R. FARRELL

Alexandria

Illegals and photo ID

Doug Chapin and Ray Martinez provided a clear description of the underlying issue of requiring photo identification for voting in their Sunday Commentary column, “Photo ID at the polls?” Does a requirement for proof of registration by photo ID reduce voter fraud, and does it also disenfranchise voters who have no photo ID? Their conclusion is that more data are needed, and they indicate that money is available. Hopefully they will begin by determining how much voter fraud has occurred over the past 10 years because that is unknown.

Without any spending, it already is known that a large number of illegal aliens are in the United States. Illegal aliens have a large stake in the outcome of the next election. They hope for promised benefits, and they also hope the government will not interfere with their presence in the country. By not requiring the registration process to provide a recognizable means of voter identification, those who already have disregarded our laws also will disregard election laws, especially because illegal aliens have a large incentive to influence election results.

The photo ID is not perfect, but it is a low-cost way to begin to reduce voter fraud for the 2008 presidential election. It will not eliminate fraud in states that provide driver’s licenses to those with unsure citizenship. With the “Motor Voter” registration law, those illegal aliens are lining up to vote again. However, it is a no-brainer for the Supreme Court to require a state to provide no-cost picture IDs to those who don’t have them otherwise, while requiring proof of citizenship at the time of issue. There is no disenfranchisement by picture ID.

WAYNE HEMBREE

Bowie

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