If no crash, a bumpy road ahead
Resolution for a problem that claimed the lives of almost 40,000 people and continued for almost three decades in a geographical area going beyond the national borders of one country cannot be achieved overnight with a state and a terrorist chieftain declaring some sort of a peace deal.
It is understood from reports after Murat Karayılan, the current de facto chieftain of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) gang, met a delegation of the civilian extension of the PKK, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), the gang needs up to two years to withdraw from Turkish territory. Mind you, Karayılan was not talking about laying down arms; he was saying the PKK needed two years just to withdraw from Turkish territory.
At least Karayılan reassured both the life-term convict PKK chieftain Abdullah Öcalan that the gang would abide with a deal. Hesitations still continue of course, despite “assurances” of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that withdrawing terrorists would not be attacked as was done in the withdrawal that was done after the 1999 capture of Öcalan as he was leaving the Greek ambassadorial residence in Kenya.
Many people hope the current process, the third since 2007, would go smoothly and within months the 30-year-old PKK problem, as well as the age-old Kurdish woes of this land, would all become history.
Remember, the first attempt faltered when the gang and its supporters tried to portray the summary
release at orders of the government by a tent-court established at Habur border gate a group of returning terrorists as victory. Such a sham could not be accepted by the nation; the government had to step back. The second effort failed when recordings of the so-called Oslo process were leaked – who leaked them still a mystery. The current effort has already survived a leak. The minutes of the meeting between Öcalan and a BDP team was leaked from party headquarters. The government did not let the process die out because of the leak and its poisonous content. A following mine blast wounding two soldiers was also too small to hurt the process, but the road ahead will be very bumpy and it is hoped that this car of peace does not end up in another crash.
Despite all odds, frustration of the Turkish nation with continued bloodshed and animosity is filling the sails of the government in this process. Thank God over the past 30 years or so, although from time to time that card was wanted to be used by the terrorists, the nation managed to maintain its integrity, refused polarization and worse enmity along ethnic lines. Like the prime minister married an Arab girl, marriages between ethnic, sectarian or culturally, religiously different groups have been rather common in this land. Of course there were periods when the will of coexistence in peace was seriously tested and at some localities failures in such tests were experienced, overall track record of Turkey has been much better than any European country. After all the most tranquil period of even Balkans was when it was enjoying the Turkish peace.
Can Turkey succeed in this push for ending Kurdish problems and separatist terrorism? Of course it can.
The process, this time far more transparent and thus far more widely supported than previous efforts, is an opportunity to resolve the issue without risking some serious consequences. What? Look around, if we cannot resolve these perennial woes of our society some others may scratch and turn into a malign illness posing us an existential threat.
Still, no one should expect a straight, no problem line ahead… This will be a bumpy trip.