Turkish gov’t reveals much-vaunted ‘action plan’ to resolve Kurdish issue
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has unveiled a much-touted “action plan” aimed at “repairing” eastern and southeastern Turkey, which has been traumatized by months of ongoing conflict between security forces and militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“Nobody should worry. No matter where it is – whether it is the Diyarbakır Bazaar, Mardin or Silopi - we will compensate the losses of all of our citizens due to terror. These [militants] have started a fire, but God willing we will grow a rose garden at the site of the fire,” Davutoğlu said on Feb. 5 in the southeastern province of Mardin.
“I’m announcing fundamental elements of a 10-part action plan. The first part is the psychological element.
During this period, as was the case in the past, we will unite nation’s conscience and wisdom with the state’s reason. All differences between the nation and the state will be entirely eliminated and we will have an understanding of uniting and integrating the nation with a human-oriented state, instead of an understanding of disruptive nationalism,” Davutoğlu said at a meeting hosted at Artuklu University.
Dubbed the “Fraternity Gatherings Mardin Conference,” the meeting heralded a series of what Davutoğlu described as “thank you visits” across Turkey, to be staged in a different province in the country every Friday.
“We are going to bind all the wounds. We who have welcomed two and a half million Syrians are perfectly capable of offering all our help to our fellow citizens,” Davutoğlu said.
He vowed to strengthen the region’s economy through measures such as postponing employers’ premium debts and local tradesmen and farmers’ loan repayments.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s plan involves assigning a budget of 26.5 billion Turkish Liras ($9 billion) to revive eastern and southeastern Anatolia, the economy of which has been badly damaged since a fragile peace process was shattered last summer following a two-and-a-half-year de facto ceasefire.
In recent months Turkey has stepped up efforts to combat the PKK, with aerial campaigns and ground operations targeting militants. Local governors have imposed a series of round-the-clock curfews in several towns in Turkey’s east and southeast.
‘Compassion and power’
“Whoever ties to launch terrorist actions, they will be averted and stopped, regardless of whether they exploit the feelings of our pious Sunni citizens as DAESH [an Arabic acronym of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant/ISIL] does, or exploit Kurds as the PKK does, or exploit Alevi citizens as the DHKP-C [the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party–Front] does. The terrorists and the people will be differentiated, the people will be treated with compassion and the terrorists will be treated with power,” Davutoğlu also said in Mardin on Feb. 5.
He also cited “a communication system, consultation councils, a uniting spirit with neighboring countries, legal and administrative arrangements, building of public order, a comprehensive democratic reform process, social mobilization and recovery of space” as parts of the “masterplan” or “action plan.”
‘Effective communication strategy’
“We will implement an effective communicative strategy. A perception is trying to be created in the region. I’ve instructed all governorates and district governorates against these perception operations. Everywhere, there will be a communication unit established and information will be conveyed to our people through the most effective communication strategies about what’s going on, at both the national and international level,” he added.
‘Kut al-Amara and the last castle’
“We are also launching a comprehensive movement to unite the spirit of this entire region in the Middle East, the Balkans and the Caucasus, for the beginning of a new fraternity era - not only in Turkey,” Davutoğlu also vowed.
“Turkey will always mobilize a uniting spirit against the disruptive understanding of ‘Sykes-Picot’ and its pawns,” he said.
The Sykes-Picot agreement between Britain and France of 1916 sought to carve out spheres of influence from the ruins of the crumbling Ottoman Empire during the First World War.
“We were together in Kut al-Amara and we will be together in the coming period, God willing,” Davutoğlu added, apparently referring to the Ottoman forces’ defeat of the British during the World War I in the town of Kut al-Amara on the Tigris River in the Basra province of Mesopotamia, modern-day Iraq.
“We will stand tall against whoever tries to divide this country, which is the last castle of resistance,” he stated.