In the long run we are all dead

In the long run we are all dead

British economist John Maynard Keynes was a person who did not hide his concerns about future estimates.

He especially did not like the vagueness of such concepts as “short-term” and “long-term.” That’s why he said his famous quote: “In the long run, we are all dead.”

While I was sending tweets to a friend of mine earlier this week and during a couple of meetings, the topic was at which point the “peace process” would be completed.

Personally, I have no doubts that Turkey will absolutely solve this issue, that Turkey does not have the luxury to prolong the Kurdish issue eternally. One day it will be solved. But when will it be solved? At what point?

At the minutes of a meeting published by daily Milliyet, outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) head Abdullah Öcalan mentioned the importance of it as a historic opportunity, as if saying “We should not miss this.” He said, “If that does not happen again, then they should consider Apo dead, I am out.” In the previous meeting with Öcalan, newspapers wrote that Öcalan had said, “I have gotten old, I want to see peace and a solution before I die.”

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is also among those who have this concern with time, saying “This should conclude as soon as possible.”

Dual elections process

Many political analysts are drawing attention to the dual (most probably triple) elections process ahead of us and regard it as crucial that the “solution” come or find a right track before the climate of these elections settles.

The de facto leader of the PKK, Murat Karayılan, who met with a delegation from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) the other day, is also one concerned with time. But his concern is the opposite. He does not want things to be rushed; he criticizes the stance that is reflected in the Turkish media from time to time claiming, “This is over. The PKK will come down from the mountains in a couple of months.”

The need of both Öcalan and Karayılan to point out that “if the solution does not happen, then there will be a bloody war,” is not just a threat for the negotiation table.

We know this is not so because of the past stages of the issue. Last year was one of those years with the most clashes suffered after a long time. Why do you think this was so?

Karayılan goes even further, saying, “Spring has come. In a couple of weeks, there will be a suitable environment for us to attack.” He thinks he is pressuring the government on his own terms. The government, a bit because of the nature of the process, holds those cards in its hand very close; it does not want those peeking from the side to be able to see them. For this reason, we do not know how long or short a term the government or Prime Minister Erdoğan anticipates. But, if asked, the prime minister would say he would prefer the PKK leave its arms and come down from the mountain tomorrow morning.

Reasons to be optimistic

In short, it is exceedingly important from where you are viewing the solution process. There are many concrete reasons why we should be optimistic and search for the solution in an optimistic way. But if you are skeptical and pessimistic, the way the process was conducted up to now will give you enough material to be pessimistic and spread this pessimism around.

I am optimistic. But this question of “when” is important.

*İsmet Berkan is a columnist for daily Hürriyet in which this piece was published March 8. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.