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MEHMET ALİ BİRAND > Erdoğan: I will not accept the solution you want

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To be able to write this piece, I was waiting for the Prime Minister’s Diyarbakır speech on Saturday and Şanlıurfa speech on Sunday. They were important because they were to reveal where policies on the Kurdish issue and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were heading.

You should have noticed there has been a significant change in the Prime Minister for some time.
From his historic Diyarbakır speech in 2005 until recent years, it looked as if he would be the leader to solve the issue and make history. His statements pointed in this direction. He did what others were unable to do.

He cleared the obstacles leading to a dialogue between the state, the PKK and Öcalan. He allowed representatives from the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) to meet with PKK representatives in Oslo. He sent delegations to İmralı (the prison island where PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan is being held).

He lifted restrictions in several fields - from opening state radio and television stations in Kurdish, to Kurdish names. He made major economic investments in the southeast and increased investment incentives. He started the famous “Kurdish Initiative” project.

Then something happened and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan started changing this stance, before the 2010 elections. He adopted an extremely harsh approach.

His words got tougher. His approach got tougher. He officially closed İmralı. He stopped Öcalan’s dialogue with the external world. Öcalan has not been allowed to meet either his kinsmen or his lawyers for 10 months.

No contact with the PKK is now allowed. KCK arrests are continuing at full speed, KCK being the Kurdistan Communities Union, the alleged urban wing of the PKK. The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) is also constantly being battered.

I have researched this change of stance. I tried to learn what kind of a logic the prime minister was following in this picture, what he had in mind. A very different picture has emerged.

‘They want to found Kurdistan’

According to the prime minister and policymakers in Ankara, the main goal of the PKK and the BDP is not to solve the Kurdish issue, but to form a Kurdistan on Turkish soil. More precisely, to establish sovereignty on a piece of land they can control themselves.

Factors that have changed the prime minister’s opinion are listed as the following:

- They have torpedoed the Oslo talks and posted them on the Internet to put the government in a difficult situation.

- İmralı, instead of facilitating, has further obstructed developments.

- They have intentionally blocked our “Kurdish Initiative” policy.

- They have declared the “Autonomous region” project and by spreading the KCK they openly demonstrated their intentions.

- They have prioritized arms.

- The PKK, as Erdoðan sees it, is a group that wants to terrify Turkish society by using arms (i.e. terror), and which wants to form its own political staff, its own police-gendarme, and collect its own taxes.

- The BDP, as the prime minister sees it, is a party that cannot go beyond directives from the PKK.

Be it with his body language or his directives, the messages the prime minister is giving are clearer now:

“I will not give an inch to the solution you want. Lay down arms, stop terror, come and let’s talk. But I will not allow a Kurdistan to be formed.”

Will he be able to achieve it?

Not very easily. For this reason, he needs the assistance of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

June/05/2012

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