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BURAK BEKDİL > Mais non!

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Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would probably be a much happier man if the Jews, the French as well as the secular, Shia and Alevi Muslims lived on Mars. As I argued/anticipated in this column more than once, his presumed honeymoon with French President François Hollande, the enemy of his one-time enemy Nicolas Sarkozy, ended before it even began.

Moreover, for Mr. Erdoğan, Mr. Hollande can become the new Mr. Sarkozy as more and more French tend to see Turkey’s democratization under Mr. Erdoğan’s government as a big farce, and especially if the French president decided to revive the now-defunct legislation to make denial of the Armenian genocide illegal.

In possibly one of the funniest of his rants ever, Mr. Erdoğan angrily demanded Mr. Hollande explain why he had met one of the three Kurdish militants shot dead in Paris. Earlier, Mr. Hollande had said that he knew one of the three women. And Mr. Erdoğan roared, “The French president should immediately disclose to the public why he met with members of this terrorist organization, what was discussed, to what end he was in communication with these terrorists.”

In the first place, Prime Minister, the French president did not meet with any terrorist, although he may have spoken to “Gare du Nord,” just like your government has categorically refused to talk to Kurdish terrorists and their political extensions but is now in talks with “İmrali,” or with “the island.” If Turkish officials can speak to “İmrali the island” why should French officials not speak to “Gare du Nord the train station?”

Secondly, Prime Minister, you had to admit last year that “the Turkish state,” but not “the Turkish government,” had been in secret talks with the PKK after the tape recordings of these talks had been leaked. So, think positively, it should be the French state – not the French government – that had met with one of the Kurdish militants. And do you not always say that it is normal for the government to employ the state’s intelligence and other assets as instruments for constructive dialogue with the terrorists? Think positively again, Mr. Hollande must have employed the French state’s assets as instruments for constructive dialogue with the PKK.

Not yet convinced? Ask your own party’s MP, Nursuna Memecan, why she met with Fidan Doğan, the same lady with whom Mr. Hollande said he had met. And remember, Ms. Memecan recalls the deceased as “an always smiling, positive and pro-dialogue woman.” So why should a French politician refuse to speak to someone a Turkish politician from your own party speaks to, and remembers with admiration?

Not yet convinced? Perhaps you should start by explaining first why you so merrily meet with the leaders of Hamas and embrace them with every possible feeling of fraternity? The parallel? Both the PKK and Hamas carry labels with international recognition that read “terrorist” in bold letters. Perhaps you should “immediately disclose to the public why you met with members of this terrorist organization, what was discussed, to what end you were in communication with these terrorists?” But we know that you believe an entity that publicly pledges to annihilate an entire nation through violence may or may not be a terrorist organization, depending on the target nation.

So, never mind, Prime Minister. Even this columnist, who has never hidden his dislike of your governance, fully supports the new peace process with the PKK you bravely launched. In this tough task you will have the wholehearted support of most Turks and Kurds. Blessed are the peace-makers! Good luck.

January/18/2013

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