A new process, the regional equation and the PKK
YALÇIN AKDOĞANThe government’s determination to fight terror through effective military operations has challenged the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) strategy of Revolutionary People’s War. In particular, the PKK’s ability to mobilize people has been hampered to a great extent. The participation rate in recent demonstrations has dropped as much as 40 percent and the organization that aims to carry out several activities before it retreats for the winter is losing more with every move it makes.
At this stage, it is inevitable that the state will try to reach a final solution by mobilizing all its instruments and opt for different strategies and tactics, in light of lessons learned and experiences accumulated from the past. On the one hand, the state is continuing the democratization process and is introducing practices strengthening the bonds of love between the people, while on the other hand it is rebutting the moves of the PKK, weakening its capabilities and assessing what can be done to disarm them.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stressed that work on the process of “national unity and brotherhood” are continuing and that important developments could take place soon.
In these kinds of matters where issues are intertwined and tangled, the state is conducting multi-dimensional work. Yesterday, Haline Kökçe’s column pointed out that the democratic initiative was an approach and practice that the government had been developing since their first day in power. This issue has been assessed both in the program of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), so democratic reforms have been implemented since the day the government took power. The Oslo talks, on the other hand, were a process that developed in the second term of the government. In other words, democratization is the principal process, which started long before the Oslo talks. Its dynamics, content and actors are very different. There is indeed a relation between the two processes. After all, the state regarded this meeting as necessary; it was simply using a different instrument to solve a different aspect of the issue. The PKK and the subject of disarmament is one related dimension in a set of huge issues. When the Oslo process failed, the government did not neglect the other dimensions and has continued addressing the issue with determination. Prime Minister Erdoğan’s statements regarding the talks show that every possibility is being assessed.
In this process, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), which is acting as if it were the Republican People’s Party (CHP) of the Kurds, has exerted every obstruction it possibly can. It is still a mystery what kind of a stance this mentality - which considers politics to be opposing everything - will adopt in the new term. It also looks as if the split voices coming from the PKK will insist on the wrong choice.
It is also untrue to present some talks that are reported in newspapers as if they were a “new situation.” The deputy group presidents of the BDP and AKP officials frequently come together to discuss the parliamentary agenda. Incorrect perceptions should not be produced over this. As a matter of fact, the BDP administration announced that there was no statement because there was no new situation regarding the talks they held. Of course, everyone wants good things to happen, but over-exaggerating this climate raises expectations as well as causes psychological dissatisfaction and disappointment. Incorrect perceptions most of the time negatively affect the reality and the course of events.
It makes an interesting combination that at a time when the discourses concerning the possibility of talks from the government wing are increasingly heard, the United States Ambassador mentions projects with “striking” priorities. I don’t know how many of these news stories are true and how many of them reflect the truth; however, several ways for the U.S. to demonstrate the seriousness of its intention on this matter have been present up until this point. As a matter of fact, the U.S. has made serious contributions on this issue for some time, such as in the capture of Öcalan. Turkey now demands cooperation that will provide a final result.
How much effective cooperation the U.S. can develop regarding the PKK in this conjuncture, when it has not been able to convert the effect that was expected from it into practice in the Syrian issue, is an important topic. There is no doubt that the U.S. has adequate power in this aspect. The U.S. and Turkey have cooperation in many fields and it is far from meaningful to reveal their details and create speculation. Turkish-American relations are currently perhaps at their historical best, so - despite the U.S. administration’s determined messages - it should not be regarded as unusual that Turkey, who suffers extensively from the issue, expects more advanced steps.
Yalçýn Akdoðan is an advisor to the Turkish Prime Minister and a columnist for daily Star in which this piece was published on Oct. 19. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.