Can those not preparing for the aftermath set the background?
İSMET BERKANI had heard this story before from a third source, but then, a few weeks ago, I heard it also from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“We have been constantly told to ‘lift the state of emergency [OHAL], and we do not want anything else,’” the prime minister said. “We lifted it. Then, what happened?”
In long-lasting complicated issues, it is always that way. Even those who regard themselves as being central to the issue reach a stage where they cannot see the forest for the trees, or because they have been staring too much at the large tree in the center, forget the entire forest behind them.
But the forest never makes itself forgotten.
It is correct that once upon a time, the biggest issue of daily life in Southeast Anatolia was the OHAL regime. It was assumed that once OHAL was lifted, everything would get back on track; but, no, actually, nothing changed.
Nowadays, it is again the large trees seen in the forefront that are occupying too much eye space. For this reason, it is useful to again remember the forest.
The forest is the ecosystem that supports the continuation of recruits to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which lost more than a thousand members in 2012 alone as if nothing has happened. If you interpret the word “ecosystem” as the “Kurdish issue,” then it would be a narrow interpretation because the “ecosystem” also covers the “Turkish issue” as Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli is loudly expressing these days.
Unless this ecosystem is ended, no matter whether you declare a general amnesty, whether the PKK moves elsewhere or whether PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan is merely given house arrest, nothing will change.
In ending this ecosystem, the need for negotiations, İmralı and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) merely forms the background. As Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay has said, “Terror is delaying and blocking the steps for democratization,” and that’s all.
To end the ecosystem, it would be sufficient for politicians who decide the future of the country to talk to each other and take action. There is no need to negotiate with others.
What we call the “Kurdish issue” is the total of all obstacles preventing Kurds from feeling equal in this country. What we call the “Turkish issue” is the name of all behaviors from a lack of empathy to racism, from saying “Kurds are already equal” to “Kurdish is a primitive language. What will they do by learning it?”
Behaviors ranging from a lack of empathy to racism are not only limited to the stances of individuals in this country. They are things that have infiltrated state politics, the spirit of laws, practices and political propaganda – in short, every official and non-official aspect.
Some of them have been adopted to such an extent that, just because Kurds will also take advantage of them, democracy and the most primary elements of democracy have been abandoned. If giving up one of the most fundamental human rights, freedom of expression, just because Kurds will also benefit from it, is not an indication that the “Turkish issue” is not seen as a problem, then what is?
Yes, the forest is this complicated “ecosystem.”
It used to be called “manic-depressive,” but nowadays it is called “bi-polar personality disorder” – in other words, a personality that oscillates between two poles. In the manic stage, one is very “high,” but in the depressive stage you hit the bottom.
If we, as a society, do not suffer from a bipolar personality disorder, if the stage we are going through right now is not the “manic” stage, or – more precisely – if we do not want to fall into depression in the future and hit the bottom as we did a few months ago, then we should be careful not to disconnect ourselves with the facts.
The truth is the existence of the “forest,” in other words, the existence of the ecosystem: the PKK is actually a tree in this forest.
We are talking about a socio-cultural ecosystem. What will remove it is politics. Maybe I should write it in capitals: POLITICS.
This is what will happen in the end: The obstacles standing before politics will be lifted, while causes defended with weapons may be obtained through politics.
And clearing the way for politics this way will be fully digested. There is no other way.
This is preparing for the aftermath. Those who do not prepare for the aftermath will not be able to achieve anything “now.”
Saying, “Nothing should change in Turkey; the PKK should disarm,” is to be disconnected from reality.
İsmet Berkan is a columnist for daily Hürriyet in which this piece was published Jan 11. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.