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Kurds prefer Türk and Tuğluk

HDN | 8/18/2010 12:00:00 AM | ORAL ÇALIŞLAR

If we understand what Kurds say and express this to the Turkish public in a reasonable way, the rest will come.

The Kurdish question is famous for being a tough one. Since necessary steps for the solution were not taken in the past, things have turned into a mess today. With the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s, or PKK’s, declaration of a ceasefire, we have taken a new turn.

Now we have various options.

We do have a choice to use the ceasefire period as an opportunity to find a solution, which is very different from our past experiences.

I watch retired generals, columnists, scientists, strategists and writers who think they are generals on TV. They want to pass over this period as is and go back to the atmosphere of conflict again. They say: “The PKK is finished. They had to declare ceasefire out of desperationy Let’s use pressure and finish them off. The Turkish state does not and cannot bargain.”

We have heard similar remarks so many times during the past 26 years. If we keep on doing so, we’ll wait for another 26 years. Who cares if our children die… These people obviously see the tragedy simply as an opportunity to shout the slogan, “Martyrs do not die.”

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It’s been said that civil society organizations in the southeast have played a role in the declaration of the ceasefire. People who know the region well think similarly. The PKK stressed the same in the announcement.

Ahmet Türk and Aysel Tuğluk were selected co-chairs of the Democratic Society Platform, or DTK, convention last week. Advocates of Kurdish identity have cleared the way for the duo’s co-chairmanship of a critical political organization, although Türk and Tuğluk are banned from politics by a ruling of the Constitutional Court when their memberships in Parliament were rescinded.

In the Kurdish identity movement, Türk and Tuğluk are two names known for their commonsense, moderate and peaceful stances. Somehow, the “independent judiciary” targeted them and wanted to put them outside politics. The efforts of Türk and Tuğluk were said to have beewn effective in the PKK ceasefire.

In the continuation of such efforts, the Kurdish movement has asked their what could be influential in the solution process. This needs to be analyzed thoroughly. Türk and Tuğluk are two names who could play a different role to overcome violence in the movement. An organization under their leadership symbolizes the possibility of solution and will. If Kurds fail to benefit from this “will for solution,” which they show by choosing Türk and Tuğluk, generating a healthy solution strategy may not be possible.

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The nationalist-militarist camp still stands operates on the perception that “Türk deserved to be punched in the nose.” They are yelling on TV, using everything in their power to drag Turkey to their way and to close the path to a solution. Even though they are not as powerful as in the past, owing to their ability to provoke nationalistic feelings they still have the potential to create obstacles in the way of a solution.

With the latest Supreme Military Board, or YAŞ, meeting, Turkey has taken a new turn. Centers defending a “military solution” to the Kurdish conflict have lost power. Now we are in a period where we see fewer obstacles indeed.

Tuğluk announced that they are ready to meet with President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in order to gain something positive out of the situation. We will all see whether or not such a Kurdish step for solution will be given importance.

It is useful to recall the fact that the Kurdish movement expresses their demands clearly and in a more determined way. We anticipate PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan will be part of the process, as many “radical” demands for democracy, including a self-government option, will be voiced. The Kurdish movement will demand the release of hundreds of Kurdish politicians who are under arrest now due to a Kurdish Communities Union, or KCK, operation and to lower the 10 percent national election threshold.

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Turkish public opinion may find the Kurdish demands rather excessive. This is extremely normal. However, facts are essential in politics. We all see the consequences if they are ignored.

Türk is the chance for solution, both among Kurds and Turks. And this may not be equally effective at all times. So, we better benefit from today’s conditions and terms.

And the biggest share of responsibility at this point is on Gül and Erdoğan. They are the ones who will better understand and evaluate the positive role of Türk in this process.

The Kurdish issue (like many problems known for their difficulties) is an easy problem in one aspect. If we understand what Kurds say and express this to the Turkish public in a reasonable way, the rest will come.

* Oral Çalışlar is a columnist for the daily Radikal in which this piece appeared Tuesday. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff

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