1 February 2006
(Emre Ozkan/Sebla Uludağ-JTW/Ankara) Fırat News Agency, known as the pro-PKK (ethnic terror organization, Kurdistan Workers Party) news agency, made a survey that published by Ozgur Gundem by the end of the January which was made among 300 PKK militants. These militants were asked several questions such as their religious preferences, historic idols and reading habits. The survey results are surprising and remarkable.
But while analyzing the results of the interview, it is also essential to question that why such kind of a news agency published this interesting survey. In this interview, the most remarkable result is the view of militants about religious leaders. The militants have erratic answers about religious leaders. They mostly see the Zerdust (34%) and Jesus (34%) as the most favorable religious leader. The other militants accept Mani, Muhammed, Moses and Abraham prophets as a religious leader with the percentage of 11%, 10 %, 7% and 4% respectively. When it is considered the Islam as the mostly accepted religion (99%) in the Kurdish populated area, it can be concluded that there are huge gaps between the people in Southern East of the Anatolian Region and the people who allege to represent the people in that region. The Kurdish people have a high religious sensitivity and high respect to fundamental principles to Islam religion, in contrast to this, these militants have a remarkable lack of sensitivity to the Islamic principles, which is ironical.
According to Dr. Ihsan Bal, Head of Security and Terrorism Studies in ISRO (International Strategic Research Organization), the publishing of the results of the survey by a pro-PKK news agency may have two dimensions. The first is to send massages to Christian world. Because the PKK has had an external support, this survey can be evaluated as a message to the outside Turkey as Christian figure Isa in the survey results has higher percentage than the Islamic religion prophet, Muhammed. Besides, when it is included that Syrian and Armenian people had an active participation in the activities of the PKK, this terrorist organization may have the intention to turn back to its origins. According to him, the second dimension can be based on the Marxist-Leninist origins of the PKK. When it is thought about the origins of the PKK, Zerdust and Mani chosen as religious leaders can be interpreted as the intention of PKK's turning back to its origins.
Ihsan Bal mentions that PKK is not a religious originated organization so these survey's answers cannot give any hints whether the PKK has a religious origin. Furthermore, the answers about the question of religious leader cannot overlap with the religious view of the region in which PKK fulfills their activities. If it is considered that the PKK is active especially in Turkey, Iraq and Iran triangle, the survey will show that the religious preferences of the leaders of the organization belong to marginal groups in the region.
Moreover Talat Şalk, Head of Law Studies in ISRO, pointed out that PKK added the religious dimension to its activities afterwards. With emphasizing the religious views, PKK may want to do its propaganda widely. And they may intent to give a political message by this survey.
When analyzing the results of the survey it is possible to find different aspects. As Dr. Mehmet Seyfettin Erol, expert of Turkish Foreign Policy in ASAM (Eurasia Strategic Research Center), argues that the knowledge level of the militants is insufficient to answer the questions of survey consistently. What's more, Erol also mentions the Israel-Mossad influence on the region and concludes that the region may enter the influence of outsiders.
On the other hand, Dr. Nihat Ali +ûzcan, expert on ethnic terrorism, mentions that the results of the survey are not surprising. He emphasizes the using of Zerdust values in the construction of Kurdish identity. So, the leading answer of Zerdust as a religious leader among the PKK militants has to be evaluated as normal.
In addition to this, the survey includes other preferences of the militants about different fields. According to the survey the militant's most favorite military personality in the history is Mahsun Korkmaz who was one of the leading figures of the terrorist organization and did raid to Eruh in 1984. The other favorite personalities are Alexander the Great and Napoleon. And most favorite mythological characters are Gilgamesh, Prometheus and Hector randomly.
PKK militant's book choices are also interesting. According to the survey terrorists who did terrorist acts are interest on novels and poems (25%) mostly. Research books are in the second order (20%), the third place is for books which contains sociology and philosophy (14%).
Murray Bookchin is the most favorite researcher for militants; Immanuel Wallerstein and Gordon Childe are coming after Bookchin. Freidrich Nietzche, Noam Chomsky and Muazzez Ilmiye Cıg are also other researchers who are interested by terrorists. Militants are mostly interested on sociology, psychology, history, biology, ecology, space and archeology.
According to the survey the most favorite cinema films are Last Samurai, The Lord of the Rings, Brave Heart, Troy, Alexander the Great, Pianist Titanic, Red Spot and the Beautiful Mind in random order.
The other question in the survey is about the main problem of humanity. The answers are mentality problems (17%), ecological and social problems (16%), wars (15%), chaos and morally corruption (15%), hierarchy (11%), gender (10%), law and justice (10%), and nationalism (6%).
As a conclusion, this survey shows us two important possibilities: First one is that PKK may have the intention to turn back to its origins. At first, as argued above, PKK had a Marxist- Leninist ideology. So, the preferences of Zerdust and Mani can be based to this origin of PKK. The second possibility is that with this survey PKK may send a message to the outside Turkey. Since the beginning of its establishment, PKK enjoys foreign support. Meanwhile, secret Armenian involvement with the PKK became apparent and evident as the survey highlighted that the most of the PKK militants have similar idols to Armenians rather than Kurds. So, the higher percentage of Christianity, Zerdust and Mani rather than Islam supports the views that PKK is trying to escape from the regional policy for its survival. Briefly, it is very obvious that the preferences of PKK militants about religious leaders, historical idols and reading habits are very different from people who live in the region that PKK actively involves.