Mensur Güzel, a Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist, was killed on Saturday in a pre-dawn operation to rescue more than 20 passengers and crewmembers whom he had held hostage for 12 hours on board a high-speed ferry near İstanbul. It was very strange for a mother to make such a gesture just after losing her son -- something which many believe needs to be examined to get an understanding about how any mother with a compassionate heart could make a “V” sign after losing a son in violent circumstances.
Bugün’s Ahmet Taşgetiren is one of those who failed to understand the meaning of the gesture by Güzel’s mother. “What was that sign for? Was it because your son wrapped explosives around himself? Was it because your son got on that ferry and sacrificed his life for ‘leader [of the PKK, Abdullah] Öcalan’? Was it because he failed in his attempt to carry out a terrorist attack and lost his life? What was that ‘V’ sign for? You are a mother. How can the heart of a mother be so politicized? What if your son had set off the explosives wrapped around his body, blown up the ferry and killed the mothers, fathers and children on the ferry? Would you still have made the ‘V’ sign?” asks Taşgetiren. He says he cannot believe the idea to make the ‘V’ sign belonged solely to Mrs. Güzel as he cannot imagine a mother in such a position just after losing her son. Taşgetiren says that if a mother who had not seen her son for four years found out he had wrapped explosives around himself and hijacked a ferry, she would do her best to stop her son, that she would never tell him to sacrifice his life for the “leader.” “Oh Siti Ana [Mrs. Güzel], what did they do to you? What did they do to your son Mensur? Is there anyone in this world who cries for Mensur as much as you do?” asks Taşgetiren.
Radikal’s Eyüp Can, who opened the meaning of Mrs. Güzel “V” sign up to debate, says he has received dozens of letters from his readers on the issue. He thinks questioning and trying to understand the meaning of this gesture is of crucial importance for an end to the cycle of violence in this country. Sharing excerpts from readers’ letters, Can quotes one reader going by the name Fatih: “Let me tell you the meaning of that sign. It means ‘I want peace.’ It is the sign of all Kurdish mothers.” Another reader, Cem Somel, likens Mrs. Güzel’s reaction to that of families of martyred soldiers who say, “Long live our homeland,” in the wake of the loss of their sons. He says it is difficult for a mother to accept that her son’s death was in vain, so she seeks some solace in making a “V” sign to mean that her son died for an important cause.