Fearing compensating victims, Netherlands is not apologizing to the Kurds

27 February 2009

Fearing compensating victims, Netherlands is not apologizing to the Kurds

Rudaw- Netherlands
Harry van Bommel is one of the leaders of Netherlands Socialist Party and he is a close friend of the Kurds. He, as a member of parliament, has always defended Kurds. A few weeks ago Bommel called on the Netherlands foreign minister, Maxime Verhage, to explain why Kurdish politician and activist Leyla Zana has been arrested by Turkey again. "I do not accept the response of foreign minister" he told Rudaw in an exclusive interview."

Harry van Bommel"On my way to parliament this morning, “Bommel told Rudaw, “I was thinking of looking at those people who are defending freedom in the west since 1990s. They are being looked at as terrorists, while it was very normal to defend such movements in 1970s.” A few weeks ago Bommel sparked a controversy when he participated in a demonstration to support the Palestinians.

Palestinians are smarter than Kurds

Regarding the fact that Palestinian issues are better known internationally than the Kurdish issues, Bommel says,

"Apart from the fact that Israel is the center of attention of the west and the Palestinian media are quite strong. They are clever in showing the sufferings of their nation... For example here they never forget about the scene of the father who wanted to protect his little son from the gunfire of Israelis soldiers in 1990s, or the scene of those children with blood on their faces being taken to hospitals by ambulance. These scenes are shocking people here.”

Bommel believes that Kurds are not doing enough to introduce their issues to the outside world, "Another reason of not knowing Kurds as much as Palestinians is Kurdistan is divided among four different countries and (those countries) try to show an inaccurate image of Kurds to the world. Turkey has been successful in showing Kurdish liberation movement as terrorist organization in its country.”

Independent Kurdish state

Bommel talks about a conference that was organized in Netherlands parliament few years ago in which he asked the participants to answer his question ‘Are Kurds ready to have their own independent state?’, "I was happy that the majority of the participants said No… because this means they believe in (an) independent (Kurdish state) but they thought it is early.”

"It is better for the Kurds to demand the rights that can be gained in short period," he said. He also thinks that strengthening economy is very important for the Kurds, "If the Kurds create a strong economy then the other problems could be solved easier.”

Instability of Kurdistan

Regarding Kurdistan Regional Government’s efforts to develop economical relations with the western countries Bommel said, "This is a very good thing, but the problem is unless the Kirkuk issue is solved nobody knows to which extent KRG has the authority to establish relations. I hope Kurdistan has a bright future but I am not sure of that yet.”

Ask for your rights

Bommel has always tried to attract the attention of the politicians and the media to the chemical attack on Halabja and Anfal operations in which hundreds of thousands of Kurds were taken to unknown destines never to be seen again. He is working with a Kurdish group to create a monument for Halabja victims in Netherlands. He believes this will be the first step for the Netherlands to recognize the genocide of Halabja.

Regarding the question why Netherlands does not admit that it helped Saddam regime in manufacturing chemical weapons that were used in attaching Halabja and apologize to the Kurds, Bommel replies, "It is Netherlands tradition. We are afraid of the outcomes. Also we have problem with our past. Netherlands is afraid that if it apologizes, then the next thing that comes up would be the issues of compensating (the victims).”

Rudaw has asked Bommel that if KRG officially would promise Netherlands not to demand compensation, to which extent his country is ready to ask for apology. "This is a very good idea. Finally Kurds must follow this case themselves, because they will win the case," he responded.

A trip to Turkey

Bommel will be part of a Netherland delegation that will visit Turkey, "We will visit Diyarbakır and will discuss Kurdish issue with the Turkish leaders" he said. "Year after year changes happen in Turkey, but the problem is the process of democratization progresses two steps forward and takes one step back."

Leyla Zana

Sometimes ago Bommel asked Netherlands foreign minister officially take position on the arrest of Leyla Zana for the second time by the Turkish government, "Foreign minister answered me that everybody has right to express his or her personal ideas, but he did not say how Netherlands looks at Leyla Zana's statements which are the reasons why she has been arrested. The foreign minister also said that they are following the due process of Leyla Zana very closely but he did not clarify how they do that.”

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