Letter: Turkey's sectarian society

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From Mr Sinan Akinal

Sir: As a Turkish democrat, I was saddened and disappointed to read the letter by Messrs Benn, Pinter and Kent (2 January).

They argue that, in order to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict between the Turkish security forces and the armed Kurdish organisation, the PKK, it is necessary for the EU to put pressure on the Turkish government. Yet putting pressure on the Turkish government will in itself not only be ineffective but also counter-productive. A look at the Stalinist leadership structure and the dogmatic ideology of the PKK will make it plain to anyone why it would be unrealistic to expect it to engage in a democratic dialogue.

The unfortunate fact is that mine is a sectarian society. Peaceful co-existence of all peoples is the dream of all the democrats and liberals in Turkey. Yet a pre-requisite for turning that dream into reality is that spades must be called spades. If all that the democrats in Europe can offer us is a well-meaning but naive and, ultimately, partisan approach to the problem, then it is a sad fact that with such "friends" in Europe the democrats in Turkey do not need any more enemies.

Yours faithfully,

Sinan Akinal