The king is naked…
Irrespective whether one approves or disapproves the Kurdish opening of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), it was a fact everyone with some awareness of reality might testify, that since 2012, particularly since the March 2013 declaration of “unilateral ceasefire” by the separatist gang, terrorism-related bloodshed had come to a halt. What might be the price of such a success? Yes, it was a success because no one can ignore the significance of the absence of body bags containing the remains of beloved sons dispatched to all corners of the country. Now, the country is back to that terrible situation; there is not one single day since July 24 that there has not been a report on how the terrorists sneakily murdered security personnel.
“If what’s at stake is the security of the state, the rest is detail” is a much appreciated slogan in Turkey, but real life is not like this at all. Security, wellbeing and health of the beloved ones and, of course, the right to live must be of existential importance for everyone with some brains. For people who have nothing to lose, sacrificing his life or someone else’s life, might be of meager importance. But, for those who have a reason to live or who have things to lose, sacrifice of any sort becomes an unbearable burden. Is it not so?
For more than two years, the Turkish nation lived through the “luxury” of not sacrificing almost no beloved son, either for the security or whatever supreme interest of the state or for a “cause” that even the terrorist chieftains up on the mountains of northern Iraq or serving life-terms in Turkish prisons believe might ever be attained. If after almost four decades the separatist gang could not be militarily eliminated in full or if the gang could not defeat the Turkish military except inflicting some very painful losses of the beloved ones, it must be clear for everyone that this problem must be resolved with a political approach, through dialogue and, of course, bitter compromises.
What will be achieved by bombarding northern Iraqi mountains or terrorist hideouts in Syria? Can Turkey “exterminate” either the separatist gang or the heinous gang that calls itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)? Shall we be realistic? Is Turkey really fighting the gangs of the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or ISIL? ISIL should have been dealt with long before it became a major security threat for the entirety of Turkey, not only at the border areas with Iraq and Syria. Could it be an exaggeration to claim ISIL was abetted, tolerated, given a blind eye by the Turkish state over the past few years? Turning a blind eye to reality might save the day. Columnists writing such bitter realities might be denied space in newspapers and on TV screens. As is said in Turkish, “The sun cannot be plastered with mud.” Sooner or later, someone will come out and scream, “The king is naked.”
Not only the ambiguous Kurdish opening, but the foreign policy of the Turkish government has also been in tatters for a long time. Instead of making corrections, however, the architect of the failed foreign policy was elevated by Erdoğan to the seat of the prime minister. Why? The president expected he would contribute to the creation of the much hoped for neo-Ottomanist Turkey ruled by an elected sultan. That target of Erdoğan, with a strategic calculated castration of the secularist, Kemalist and mostly leftist opposition at the June 7 elections by their bases voting for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). Why? Because separatist terrorism was a lesser threat compared to the looming Islamist sultanate threat.
The president was perfectly right when he said the Kurdish opening could not be continued with the Kurdish politicians who have not denounced terrorism or with a gang that did not fulfill its pledge of withdrawing its fighters from Turkey. Yet, with whom will Turkey talk to bring an end to terrorism through dialogue and not with guns? Has it not become absolutely clear for everyone that Turks need the HDP more than the Kurds? Has it not become absolutely clear that if there was no HDP, Turkey should have helped create one so that there might be a civilian interlocutor?
The king is naked and this must be acknowledged. Fighting terrorism is a duty of the state but providing security and wellbeing of all citizens without discrimination is a fundamental duty of the state as well. Sending over one thousand people behind bars in security sweeps, and the president complaining laws were not tough enough and people’s detainment was too short, demonstrates the lack of awareness there is around depriving people of their fundamental rights.
The king is naked.