Peace and democracy are different
KORAY ÇALIŞKANThere is a twin misunderstanding going on. Twin, because they are almost the same. Twin, because they are different. The first one is this: It is said that the main opposition party is trying to block the peace. As Mithat Sancar has said, this is not true. There are some within the Republican People’s Party (CHP) who are uncomfortable with the peace process. They also have questions. This is true. However, nobody is against a cease-fire.
Turkish society is going through serious pain. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK party) does not feel the pain because of the painkillers it has forced down the throats of a portion of the media and its grassroots. Whereas, over there, there is trouble, more painful than that in the CHP. Only they know themselves, those deputies from the Black Sea provinces of Trabzon and Rize.
Yet, you can see the stir inside the CHP, because there is freedom in the CHP. Interestingly, there is freedom also within the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). People express whatever they think. In the AK Party though, there are restrictions. Whoever raises his voice finds himself at the threshold.
My views about the peace process are no secret. Moreover, my deputy, the person whom I have said that I will vote for openly in this column, the person who is representing me, is shuttling between İmralı and Kandil these days. He is doing the right thing. My trust is intact. For this reason, it is not that I do not contribute to the peace process.
The AK Party, only five months ago, was accusing all Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) members of lying, including Sırrı Süreyya Önder, whom I have delegated. It was belittling those on hunger strike by saying, “They are eating kebabs.” The justice system was holding several innocent people such as Ayşe Berktay under arrest. Sorry, she is still under arrest.
Moreover, only two months ago, he was saying, “If I had the power, I would have hung Öcalan.” This kind of a major U-turn in such a short time makes it legitimate to ask, “What is happening, man?”
What is happening?
This is what the opposition is asking. The AK Party does not have one single written document about the solution to the Kurdish issue. It does not have a workshop. Its performance on human rights and democratization is obvious.
The CHP, on the other hand, has serious studies. Its reports are available from 1989 to 2012. Its perspective is clear. Its solutions are explicit.
CHP members remember each and every thing the AK Party has done. They are warning society against the probability of the peace process not transforming into peace and democracy. While the BDP is moving forward trusting a government that even covered up the Uludere incident, the CHP is saying “One minute.”
You cannot say this is wrong. You may say many things but you cannot get angry at an opposition opposing to a government that has turned down the support offered. The problem is this clear.
The second one of the twin problems is corresponding a cease-fire and democracy. A cease-fire can be conducted even between fascists. Peace can be achieved even among oligarchies. No problem in that.
However, democracy can only be achieved through principles and political preparation. Without this preparation, the arms extended are the arms of a chef trying to cook halva without flour and sugar.
The cease-fire should be supported. Peace and democracy, though, should be built with ideas. The AK Party is not yet persuading about peace and democracy because it has not submitted a plan to society.
The fire could be ceased without these two but the wood and the match do not vanish. For this reason, the intervention of the opposition is as legitimate as the steps of the AK Party. What is inappropriate is trying to build the road leading to peace in a deep silence.
If this preparation is not made, then the Turkish society will be squeezed under a peace process it cannot digest. Criticizing the opposition of the opposition without criticizing the AK Party’s pushing the CHP further away from the peace process is not a contribution to the peace process, it is inviting political maneuvers. Peace cannot benefit from this. Peace will never come by taking pain killers, by suppressing the symptoms. But war will end. Hopefully. The toughest days are now starting.
Koray Çalışkan is a columnist for daily Radikal, in which this piece appeared on April 26. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.