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MEHMET ALİ BİRAND

mab@hurriyet.com.tr

MEHMET ALİ BİRAND > Öcalan: I am the boss

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Hasan Cemal has gone to northern Iraq and thanks to his visit we can at least learn a bit about what those surrounding us are thinking and where the Kurdish issue is heading. His pieces in daily Milliyet, especially his final evaluation yesterday, were very important.

I have drawn two conclusions from what Hasan has conveyed to us.

The first is the confusion in the region. It is not definite when or what kind of developments are waiting for us. When the situation is like this, minds are indeed confused. As leader of Iraqi Kurdistan Massoud Barzani has said, we are walking among indefiniteness.

The other conclusion is that on such a slippery ground, all eyes have turned to Turkey. Cemal has very correctly determined that. Turkey is the key country to the Kurdish issue in the region and Erdoğan is seen as the key that could open this lock. However, unfortunately, here in our country, nobody is thinking about either the key or the lock until the presidential elections in 2014.

The Kurdish issue is becoming increasingly tangled. Its solution is becoming more difficult.

In other words, with each passing day, we are distancing ourselves from the solution Turkey has in its mind. Kurdish demands predominate. The more we disregard certain facts, the more those facts knock on our door.

Here, we have experienced one of them now: the hunger strikes.

What will happen now?
Despite the fact that official authorities define him as “no more than a common convict,” Öcalan has once again demonstrated his leadership power and ended the hunger strikes with one message. During Hasan Cemal’s interviews, both Barzani and Talabani agreed on one aspect: the boss is Öcalan.

He has also saved the government from a very difficult position because despite all tough declarations and all the statements saying, “We will not succumb to this,” the state was in difficulty. It was not only the government but all of our fears that funerals would have started coming out of prisons. Cities would have turned into fireballs. The hunger strikes could have come down upon all of us like a black cloud.

We took a deep breath.

Now, there may be some who would come out and say, “All of this was a game. It was nothing more than a scenario to show off how powerful Öcalan is. We did not pay attention to them and look, they had to take a step back in the end.”

Let them say that. They are those who think in vicious circles and who want the terror to continue.

What is more important is the stance of those people who have common sense within the government. They are working on turning this outcome into an opportunity and to restart the talks. If nobody creates obstacles, a formula will be found for Öcalan to see his lawyers. More importantly, though, is making the resumption of Oslo-type talks possible.

This crisis may lead us there, as long as the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) again prevents it.

Is Karayılan happy?
Just as we were happy that the hunger strikes ended, the incident in Şemdinli erupted. I don’t know to what extent this is correct, but the same thought probably struck everybody’s mind: “Perhaps, this attack is a message to Öcalan to know his place.”

It is difficult to make a definite judgment.

It could also be purely a coincidence. There could have been an armed clash because of an unexpected confrontation with soldiers, or this may have been an attack which was planned much earlier. However, those who closely know the atmosphere in İmralı (island) and the efforts of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) are hinting that the PKK is far from happy that the hunger strikes ended.

The Silvan attack is still in our memories. The distribution of Oslo talk records to the media has not been forgotten.

It is also known how uncomfortable the PKK is with the official authorities of the Republic of Turkey contacting Öcalan or his representatives, and that it has concerns that the organization may be “sold” or “stabbed in the back.”

The problem stems from this. Who is the addressee? Who is to be talked to? The boss is in jail, Qandil has the weapon.

It is not a secret that there are differences of opinion between Karayılan and Öcalan regarding both manner and general strategy.

The Turkish state is currently in an effort to find just one interlocutor for itself.

November/20/2012

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