The PKK trauma
There is only one way for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to become an actor in the resolution of the Kurdish question. We have been saying this for years: As long the PKK does not announce, even hypothetically, that it will disarm one day, it cannot become an actual actor. Today, we are at that juncture. With its jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan taking the initiative, the “end of the armed conflict” has been announced. The next step in the process is the mutual deliberation on the conditions of disarmament.
Öcalan’s announcement of his decision to say “farewell to arms” revealed something interesting about the Kurdish question, not only from the perspectives of the PKK and the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), but also from the perspectives of different segments of politics. It revealed that people from a wide political spectrum, from the right wing and nationalists to the left wing and liberals, were not ready to say farewell to arms. What’s tragic in this is that despite the differences in discourse and demands, some leftist-liberals share the same stance as some right wing nationalists on this issue. In fact, it has reached the stage where marginal newspapers from each side display the same headlines. Even this would be okay, if it were not for the similar statements made by Turkish and Kurdish nationalists.
The PKK leader announced that the armed conflict had ended. While the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader blatantly claimed that the PKK would never disarm, Aysel Tuğluk from BDP announced that the PKK would maintain its armed existence for at least the next 25 years. What the two people from the opposite ends of the political spectrum - two people who could be considered “political enemies” - seem to be saying in tandem is that they don’t believe in the resolution process! Of course, they have the right not to believe in the process. However, when this belief does not have a viable alternative solution to the process, we are faced with a political tragedy. In the simplest terms, we are faced with a political situation that is hard to comprehend and removed from reality - in other words a political world that is apolitical.
It seems that with the PKK’s disarmament these political positions will have to disarm politically. What I mean by this is that the PKK - and the debates that have been used by these political positions to further their own agenda - will be transformed for the better by a more realistic expectation. However this process ends, the PKK and the Kurdish question will no longer be the same. The future does not seem to offer a lot of options for those who have struggled to maintain the status quo. They will either become a part of the change, or will be rendered meaningless. Judging from their sharp and anachronistic language, they have already opted to be rendered meaningless. As is the case in all periods of transition and change of this magnitude, there is nothing to do other than to try not to act too surprised about those being left out of history.