The Arab Spring, the Kurdish Summer
HDN | 4/11/2011 12:00:00 AM | KADRİ GÜRSEL
Clearing away problems in the EU membership bid by taking radical political steps in the direction of a solution to the Kurdish question are first things to be done this summer.
On both sides of the Atlantic, the way of thinking and the media have reached a mutual understanding to name the uprising and domino effect in Arab countries as “the Arab Spring” inspired by the “Prague Spring.” Even the military intervention in Libya could not change this conformity. In fact, the majority of people on both sides of the Atlantic have agreed that the intervention is for the sake of the “spring.”
What’s being discussed is not why the intervention started but how it will end.
The 2nd Srebrenica [incident] in the Libyan city of Benghazi, or a political massacre, or the “politicide,” was prevented by an airborne attack. “Conscience of Europe” was, therefore, saved from a brand new shame.
However, nobody knows how this will end.
If unorganized and unarmed rebels are not strong enough to topple Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, how could it be possible to protect them and their families at the expense of a de facto split in Libya by NATO air force?
It’s been clear all along that an intervention launched for one or a few simple reasons could turn into such chaos. And now the situation in Libya has become impossible to be glanced off by current legal ground and methods.
With these unanswered questions and ambiguities, the continuation of the “Arab Spring” seems predestined.
The locomotive of the wave of riots, Egypt, is boiling again. Protesters were in Tahrir Square last Friday and Saturday. This time, they demanded acceleration of reforms and asked the ousted leader Hosni Mubarak and his men to stand trial for corruption. But they were handled without gloves by the military.
In Syria, protests are organized almost every day in various cities. But protesters are getting killed in groups by the regime.
Yemen does not seem to settle for peace.
The “Arab Spring” has given a quite critical result in worldwide perception. The Middle East of leaders is now facing the Middle East of masses. The more the masses in the Middle East have taken to the street, the more their demands have gained legitimacy.
As the world, without hesitation, approves automatic or organized actions of masses in the Middle East, it questions the regime at the source of problems that have caused mass actions.
As the “Arab Spring” continues, every country in the Middle East will be influenced by political effects of the world’s way of perception. Let’s think about it for a second. Let’s see if democracy in Turkey helps the government to gain immunity against the “Arab Spring.”
We see that the “Arab Spring” has begun to affect Turkey indirectly.
Discussions over “a Turkey/AKP model for Arabs” due to the “Arab Spring” have put Turkish democracy into an X-ray machine, and made more visible the weaknesses, discrepancies, but more importantly, the course of events leading in the direction of authoritarianism.
After all, if many in the West say, “A country where journalists are arrested and where press freedom is spirited off cannot be presented as a model to Arab countries,” it is not Arabs but Turkey that loses.
What’s more important, however, is the historic overlapping between “masses in the Middle East turning into actors,” and “popularization of the Kurdish question.” Plus, any kind of cause and demands defended by the popularization in consequence of the “Arab Spring” in the region become legitimate in the eye of the world.
Popularization has now become a machine of legitimacy.
Fierce struggles between those who skillfully use this machine and those who stand against it wait for the Middle East.
Expected victory of the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, in the June 12 elections will not change the fact that the Kurdish question is the “Achilles’ heel” of Turkey.
Even more so, the Kurdish question has become more sensitive “Achilles’ heel” of Turkey because of the “Arab Spring.”
After June 12, there will be no more elections in Turkey for a few years. Therefore, clearing away problems faced in the European Union membership bid by making unilateral and creative moves and taking radical political steps in the direction of a solution to Kurdish question are first things to be done in this summer.
Even if you cannot do these, situation in the region will not allow you to feel summer languor.
* Kadri Gürsel is a columnist of daily Milliyet, in which this piece appeared Monday. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.