NURAY MERT > War or peace with Kurds

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The most important condition of peace is deliberation. This is what Turkey needs but has failed to achieve in terms of peace with Kurds. All parties to the Kurdish conflict – the Turkish state, the present government, the current opposition parties and their respective supporters, on one hand, and all the actors of the Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its leader Abdullah Öcalan on the other – can find hundreds of reasons to confront each other endlessly unless a serious plan for peace is produced. 

The most important actor of peace is the present government as it has asymmetrical power for deliberation vis-à-vis all the other actors. Political power can be used both for war and peace, both for confrontation and compromise, both for suppression and negotiation. The democratic polity is based on the policies of social peace, compromise and political negotiation rather than militaristic measures, social and political confrontation and suppression. 

Democratic politics are easy to subscribe to but difficult to implement and, besides the politics of democracy, need sophisticated political skills whereas the politics of confrontation and suppression need only sheer power, which is easy to implement. Nevertheless, diversions from democratic policies have their shortcomings and are not only matters of principle. It is more difficult to govern a society where tension prevails rather than social peace; likewise, it is more difficult to engage in permanent confrontation and employ force rather than rest on compromise. Unfortunately, it takes a long time for all governments who opt for undemocratic politics to realize the shortcomings of their ways; in the meantime, their societies pay the price for their failures. 

This is the short history of the Kurdish conflict in Turkey in general and the policies of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in particular. The Turkish state and its various governments tried all methods to eliminate “the burden” of the Kurdish issue from the beginning of the Republic, but they failed and refused to recognize their failure and continually repeated the old mistakes. The AKP is the latest to repeat the old mistakes before claiming that all its attempts have been blocked by “various actors who were determined to hinder peace with Kurds.” The military hegemony, “the remnants of the deep state,” international plotters, the PKK (and then the hawks within the PKK), have all been held responsible for blocking the road to peace. In fact, first and foremost, it was the AKP who blocked its own way by refusing to recognize the importance of all the actors of “the problem.” 

It was a mistake that the AKP inherited from its processors. Besides, the AKP repeated another mistake of Turkish politics; the DIY approach for political actors, or “inventing favorite actors.” This is not a peculiarity of Turkish politics but a common trait of a combination of shallowness and authoritarianism. Erdoğan was a victim of this approach once when some “invented potential leaders of the center right” attempted to block him from power before the 2002 elections. Yet, he and his government have not hesitated to try to do the same with Kurds by promoting favorite Kurdish actors, like so-called “moderate” Kurdish NGOs and intellectuals, veteran Kurdish politicians like Kemal Burkay, Kurdish icon Leyla Zana and Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani. The serious deliberation of peace needs engagement with the real actors no matter whether we like them or not, since only real actors have the power to convince “the resentful Kurds” on peace. 

Finally, the key to peace is to overcome the resentment of millions of ordinary Kurds. The main obstacle standing in the way of peace is not the hawks of the BDP or the PKK, but the resentment of ordinary Kurds.


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Notice on comments

ismail demir

6/26/2012 5:33:21 PM

dario, I did not say no kurd speak kurdish, many kurd do not speak kurdish that is why even kck made osman baydemir s trial turkish.

dario Kurd

6/26/2012 4:45:17 PM

ismail demir if Kurds donot speak Kurdish and not willing to learn why then Turkey is forced to open Kurdish TV ?

SwordOf TheProphet

6/26/2012 3:58:24 PM

ismail demir, the kurds are not even native to there either. They're from India by way of Iran and Iraq. You are right about everything else

SwordOf TheProphet

6/26/2012 3:40:53 PM

dario, kurds do occupy Turks' land. You kurds were invited here in the 16th century by the Ottoman sultan. There are no "kurdish" names; you almost always use pan-Islamic names shared by Arabs, Turks, and Persians so this is a non-issue. Those towns and cities have always had Turkish names. I assure you that if the kurds had fighters, they would be a lot less tolerant of their neighbors than the other way around. The Turkish army isn't going anywhere because it is their land.

SwordOf TheProphet

6/26/2012 3:23:04 PM

dario, kurds are NOT native to Turkiye. The Kurds are from the Kashmir region of India by way of Iran and Iraq. There's no record of kurds being in the Middle East betore the 9th century. There's no record of kurds being in Turkiye before the 16th century when the Ottoman sultan allowed them to settle the lands he conquered from the Persian shah.

ismail demir

6/26/2012 12:59:18 PM

@dario, kurds are native only diyarbakir-mardin-hakkari triangle rests are immigrants as hispanics in America.Assimilation succesful in large scale that is why many kurds do not speak kurdish now.And effective military struggle in 1990s make pkk to give up independent kurdish state to kurdish autonomy.

dario Kurd

6/26/2012 12:12:25 PM

Murat Kurds have not occupied Turks land, didnot force turks to name their childern Kurdish names, didnot force Kurdish surnames on them didnot change their towns and city names to kurdish..didnot send fighter jet to kill civilian Turks..Turkish army have to pack up and leave kurdish area and grant them an autonomous region and allow them to run their own affairs by themseklves..this way Kurds and Turks can live in peace..

dario Kurd

6/26/2012 11:58:49 AM

ismail demir hispanic are imigrants to the US..Kurds are native to Turkey!! Turkey have tried to kill or forcefully assimilate all Kurds in 1980s but badly failed. so u need to try autonomy! because the war option has failed!

ismail demir

6/25/2012 9:45:28 PM

@dario, If hispanic population want referandum with teror in any US state, they end up with deportation.You had no luxury first enter country by accepting host country s authority later demand land.kurds had merwani state before turks came, and turks only gave merwani lands to kurds by deporting them from Turkey.Whether kurds obey Turkey s rules or they will lost the privilidges they got from turks last millenium.


6/25/2012 7:35:29 PM

There will be no peace until Kurds address their Turkish problem same way Turks try to handle their Kurdish problem. So far they do not even acknowledge that there is a problem.
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