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MEHMET ALİ BİRAND

mab@hurriyet.com.tr

MEHMET ALİ BİRAND > All to the good that talks were held, protocol done

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On the one hand, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) strikes a new target every day; on the other hand the opposition and the government are engaged in an extremely meaningless debate.

I have difficulty following the opposition. It raises hell. It screams that the Oslo talks amounted to treason. They also put forward a protocol that is claimed to have been signed between the state of the Republic of Turkey and representatives of PKK. Some of them make irrelevant accusations such as: “You have negotiated with these people and encouraged terror.”

I also have difficulty understanding the government. They immediately go on the defensive, as if they have committed a crime. They attack the opposition. Instead of explaining why these talks were held and why they were necessary, they hem and haw. They don’t even say that these talks and protocols were not official agreements, but rather were draft work. They are afraid of losing nationalist votes.

There is more to it. They do not say it explicitly, but the real responsibility for the end of this convergence and this process - which might have been just a few steps away from peace - was the PKK’s Silvan attack on July 14, 2011.

Dear readers,

Everywhere in the world, every state that is fighting against terror negotiates with the other side overtly or covertly. The aim is to stop the bloodbath. All kinds of steps are taken to silence arms, to stop the funerals.

When you review the points in the protocol, you can see that there was only one step left to a ceasefire. If there had been a ceasefire, we would not be seeing these funerals today.

The government did what it needed to do. These talks were appropriate. The protocol was the correct step. There is nothing to be ashamed of.

You will see, one day will come and a negotiating table will be formed again. Unfortunately, young lives will be lost in the meantime. Also, we should not forget that we will not be able to solve this issue with this current mentality. No government will be able to prevent PKK terror without the support of the opposition and without a constructive approach. As long as it is used as political material, neither the Kurdish issue nor PKK terror will be solved.

Important points in the protocol
The most important points of the disclosed protocol are below. It is not even known whether this protocol was signed or initialized. But, nevertheless, I make much of it because it demonstrates that such a long way was covered between the sides and how the point at which the bloodshed could have been stopped was almost reached.

Then, what happened? While everything was running smoothly, the famous attack by we-know-not-what wing of the PKK, on July 14, 2011, in Silvan, happened. The process ended with the death of 13 martyrs and Ankara changed its stance. It became tougher.

The PKK attacks increased and we have come to these days.

Look at these points from the protocol:

- The sides of the protocol will decide on the name of a council and a commission and also propose certain names.

- The Turkish side commits that after the election (July 2011) two representatives from the Organization (PKK) will visit Öcalan and after the above mentioned councils and commissions are formed, one from each sub-commission will communicate with Öcalan.

- An end to the pressures, arrests and prevention from activity of the political and legitimate representatives of the Kurdish people. The release of people arrested in the KCK operations.

- Considering the fact that an ultimate solution to the Kurdish issue can only be possible on a non-conflicting platform, an end to all military, political and diplomatic operations and actions will be the mutual basis.

- Both sides will make preparations to deepen the talks and discuss current topics. They have decided to meet again in the second half of June 2011.

September/20/2012

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