Expelling BDP deputies: Let’s not repeat old mistakes
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç made an extremely bold and correct statement Monday evening during his interview on Kanal D. He emphasized that revoking the political immunity of the deputies of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) would only assist the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK), and that this mistake should not be made.
It was a bold statement, because public opinion is now beating the war drums. An initiative, led by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), for the lifting of the immunity of BDP deputies and their imprisonment has been gaining momentum.
This has made me remember the Democracy Party (DEP) incident in 1994.
You will remember that this was again during a period when the PKK had increased its attacks and security forces were unable to do much. The rage in public opinion was steadily increasing. In the end, one day, police entered Parliament violently and took the deputies outside by force to arrest them. Then, a prison period that would go on to last for years began.
What happened next?
It was so wrong, and such a major violation of the law and Parliament’s respectability, that as PKK attacks lessened, the public started a period of soul-searching.
This incident served the PKK. Their discourse saying: “Look, now you can see, the Turks cannot even stand a few Kurdish deputies. They do not accept those deputies the Kurds have elected…,” became very effective. As well as accelerating the anger of the regional population, it also drew an intense reaction both domestically and internationally.
In the end, just as these deputies were arrested using such unlawful practices, this time, again as a result of a series of strange decisions, they were released. They were carried on shoulders with a tremendous public display. That day, the PKK declared they had won a victory.
Now, I am asking again: Why would we ever repeat the same mistake?
No matter what they say… Even if it is true that the BDP is an extension of the PKK, it would be a huge mistake to silence and to push outside the system the people that 2.5 million Kurds have elected.
Separately, chair immunity is extremely important. Deputies should be able to express their views openly, unless they promote terror or incite people to arms and kill each other. They should even be able to say: “I want an independent Kurdistan.” If we do not respect these principles, then each step we take will, in the end, turn back like a boomerang and hit us.
Let’s not forget, when one day this issue is decided to be solved, then again we will be in need of the BDP. Since I cannot think of a government that would be as bold or powerful as to sit at the negotiating table with Öcalan or the PKK, I believe we should again look after and protect the BDP.
These incidents will continue, get ready
I think it is only natural that ruling parties and security forces repeat the same words after each incident. Words are exhausted after reacting to every incident that has occurred over so many years. The public does not even believe in these statements now.
Rather, let’s quit slogan-chanting reactions.
These PKK attacks will not end. We have been fooling ourselves for years by saying: “It has ended, it will end.” We always blamed the security forces for incompetence. We never understood that the guerilla-type war was never going to end quickly.
Let’s get used to it. Let’s not stop taking precautions, but let’s stop daydreaming.
The PKK will again strike at the most unexpected moment, in an unexpected place. The more we approach these incidents with a level head, the more we will win.
Kurds, what do you say? Speak up…
We talk to each other and express our views on the PKK. Except for a few, Kurdish thinkers are silent. We cannot attribute this only to fear of the PKK. Of course, there is a certain fear, but at the base of it an oriental smartness thinking: “let’s wait, we’ll side with whoever wins” can be sensed.
One day, their children or grandchildren will ask them: “Grandpa, what did you do in the war?”
It is up to you whether you adopt the PKK’s stance; or in other words, armed struggle till the end. If not, then speak up to stand up for your rights through peaceful means. Meanwhile, there is a point we should not miss: No guerilla movement has achieved what it wanted through terror.
Unfortunately, it is the innocent Kurdish and Turkish citizens who will pay the bitterest price in this war.
Isn’t it a pity?