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YUSUF KANLI > Hugger MPs and Turkish integrity

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Pundits are reporting about the “American” 2030 forecasts for Turkey. In a “Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds” report of the National Intelligence Council it has been stressed that Turkey will become a “pivotal regional power” and one of the leading economies of the world, though it is still not yet clear whether Ankara would have joined the European Union as a full member by that date. According to pundits, the report also underlines that the creation of a Kurdish state will have a territorial cost on Turkey.

If there ever is a Kurdish state, unless that state is nurtured by the Turkish state no one should have any doubt that the region will plunge into a very nasty and bloody war. This is no threat or blackmail. It is the bitter reality. Irrespective what some academics or officious bureaucrats sit and write in their comfortable rooms somewhere in Europe or across the Atlantic, neither the Turkish state nor other regional countries – that is Iran, Iraq and Syria – would peacefully allow an independent Kurdish state to be carved out from their territories. However, developments indicate that Turkey is already heading toward a very dangerous polarization on the one hand, while on the other - thanks to the persistently failing Kurdish openings of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government - great expectations that were difficult to satisfy were created among the ethnic Kurdish population.

Unprecedented moves such as 24-hour Kurdish broadcasts, Kurdish language courses and allowing selective courses in Kurdish at public schools, preparations to allow legal defense in mother tongues, and so on, all fell short of satisfying the expectations of the Kurdish population. Whatever the AKP government wants, Kurdish activists as well as the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (the BDP, or the political wing of the separatist gang) demand it walks an extra mile. On the other hand, apart from the AKP and the BDP, all other Turkish parties are non-existent in southeastern cities with overwhelming Kurdish populations. Worse, fed up with the separatist terrorism menace continuing off and on for more than the past three decades, many die-hard Turkish nationalists are even considering whether Turkey should let the Kurds separate if they want to. So, do they want to? According to a latest International Crisis Group study, only a minute fraction of Turkey’s Kurds aspire for a Kurdish state and even most of those associating themselves with the BDP want a common future with Turkey.

A common future, but how? It appears to be a short and simple question, but unfortunately it is indeed a very difficult one, the answer of which could not yet be found. Obviously, in democracies every odd idea deserves space to be aired, but if a group of politicians meets and hugs a group of terrorists in front of cameras in a country that has lost tens of thousands of sons and daughters to separatist terrorism-related violence, that’s nasty to say the least. But there are no laws banning hugging, and even if they are terrorists those guys are our sons as well. Could it be reasonable to demand the termination of immunities of those “hugger MPs”? Definitely not, because if we wanted a negotiated settlement - irrespective how hilarious the idea might be - in the absence of the BDP we would be compelled to create a BDP-like party. If we insist on this primitive “eye for an eye” understanding of justice and this strategy based solely on use of force, well, it probably won’t take another 20 years to see the Kurds parting from Turkey.

December/12/2012

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