There was interesting news coverage by Afrika last week concerning Maj. Esat Oktay Yıldıran, who served in Cyprus before becoming the commander of Diyarbakır Prison. From the Ergenekon file, we know that many military officers who were responsible for counter-guerrilla activities in Turkey first served on active duty in Cyprus. Yıldıran was one of them. Diyarbakır Prison, like I said in my previous column, was almost like a Nazi concentration camp. As a result of the unspeakable torture that took place in this prison against Kurdish inmates, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) gained many new members. Afrika’s coverage last week put the spotlight on the mentality that created the hell of Diyarbakır Prison. Afrika quoted a statement from an inmate who served his term in Diyarbakır Prison at that time: “I remember very well the opening part of Esat Oktay Yıldıran’s address delivered on Feb. 24, 1981, to the inmates of the 35th prison ward, where there were the cells of rioting inmates. He said: ‘Listen to me! I have been appointed here upon the direct orders of the Office of the Chief of the General Staff. My name is Esat Oktay Yıldıran. I am the man who in Cyprus chopped off the head of a Greek Cypriot child in front his father’s eyes and drank his blood as wine’.”
There is no way of confirming whether there was any truth to this horrifying story that Yıldıran told the inmates in Diyarbakır Prison, but the fact that he proudly told the story tells us something! Moreover, we well know that Ergenekon’s predecessors did many terrible things in Cyprus.
The main justification of the Ergenekon mind has always been the “extraordinary conditions of Turkey.” Notably, the gang has done everything, committed every kind of provocation and assault in order not to lose these “extraordinary conditions.” Northern Cyprus and southeastern Turkey were turned into the playground of their militarism. Yıldıran’s example also showed how these “conflict zones” were connected to each other with these “invisible ties.” While Ergenekon has played its role in maintaining and heightening the conflicts from which it feeds itself, it has always had partners. The PKK, or at least some elements in this organization, never disappointed Ergenekon with their provocations, which hampered any process that could potentially lead to peace. Likewise, pathological Greek Cypriot nationalism based on a hatred of Turks has always been helpful to Ergenekon. Massacres against ethnic Turks in Cyprus paved the way for military intervention and occupation of the island by Turkey in 1974.
A good Turk is a dead Turk!
On the same day that I read the story of this “blood drinking” major, I also learnt that the Defense Ministry of Cyprus (Greek Cyprus) launched disciplinary action against training officers at the Larnaca and Paphos boot camps for forcing new conscripts to chant an “unacceptable slogan.” The slogan was, “A good Turk is a dead Turk.” This pathological mentality was exactly the same as the one which triggered the military intervention in 1974 and it is also the most loyal ally of the Ergenekon gang in Turkey.
During all these years, pathological Greek Cypriot nationalism functioned as a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. The hatred that created it has helped Turkish nationalism become bolder and more aggressive. When I heard this “dead Turk” slogan, I thought that Greek Cypriots nationalists were trying to give the kiss of life to the Ergenekon gang, which is the biggest obstacle before any peaceful solution in Cyprus. Hopefully, there has been an investigation that, I hope, will lead to the punishment of those responsible for this racist display.
I do not know if there is a newspaper similar to Afrika on the Greek part of the divided island. There should be. This “blood drinking” major and his fellow Greek Cypriot fascists are very strong allies. They are mirror images of each other on different parts of the island. Champions of peace and human rights should have their own mirror images as well!