In the 1930’s and 1940’s a program to make Turkey one nation, one flag, one race, one language, one religion and one culture country was put into effect. The result was disastrous. This turned into a large scale, officially recognized and led xenophobia. The problem was that prior to the establishment of the modern Turkey in 1923, Anatolia was a hotbed of hundreds of cultures, languages, religions and peoples.
Using this official program Greeks, Armenians, Jews, Kurds and other minorities were attacked, lynched and many were forced out of Turkey, with their properties looted and confiscated. Kurds were allowed to stay because they were Muslims. However, their national identity was banned.
The racist, nationalist program still continues, especially against the Kurds.
On December 15, Sabır Söyü left his factory job in Manisa Turkey, at 5:00PM and was walking home. He was talking in Kurdish to a friend on his cell phone. Two unknown assailants approached him and asked what he was doing. When Söyü answered that he was talking on the phone, the strangers told him to speak Turkish because they could not understand what Söyü was saying. Then the attackers started cursing and tried forcing Söyü to repeat a pledge to Turkishness by saying “How happy I am to be a Turk.” This is a symbol of Turkish racism that was coined by a phrase from the country’s founder Mustafa Kemal.
Söyü is not a Turk. He is Kurdish. Many nationalist and racist Turks have an issue even with pronouncing the word “Kurd” or “Kurdish.” When they have to, they prefer saying, “People of Kurdish origins”, meaning, those in question are Turks today but used to be Kurds. Kurds, on the other hand, refuse to be identified as Turks and claim they have always been and still are Kurds. This could put one in danger in Turkey as Söyü found out.
The strangers then said Söyü also had to leave the country and started beating him.
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