New stage of the Kurdish issue

New stage of the Kurdish issue

About a year ago, at the top of the debate agenda sat the changes in the Kurdish policies of the government. This question was asked in an atmosphere of harsh language and a security-based stance:
“How did we come to this stage from the Oslo process?”

I tried to answer this question about the Kurdish policies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in those days and said this:

After 2002, the AK Party, as it did on several other subjects, introduced an active liberal policy.

Clear examples of this situation are relations with northern Iraq, the ending of denial policies, important moves made on fundamental rights and freedoms despite shortcomings, changes toward the usage of Kurdish and other identity rights, democratic contributions toward the forming of a political zone and platform in the solution and debate of the issue, alongside with talks with Öcalan and the organization to lay down arms and the political will to solve the issue through political initiatives.

All of these had brought Turkey to laying-down-of-arms negotiations, to the Oslo process.

Then disengagement was experienced. The political climate was replaced by a security climate. Government sources pointed to the stance of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as the reason for this replacement.

Their viewpoints were as such:

“While the talks had reached a certain stage for the armed forces of the organization to withdraw from Turkey; arms being placed on the negotiation table and resorting to violence to gain more have caused the government to shift course. It called for and enabled that the bar was set higher in security policies.”

This vision has produced a three-legged policy:

1 – To make the PKK understand that it cannot negotiate by using arms,

2 – To minimize the organization to its actual power margin,

3 – To flex the bonds between the Kurdish issue and the Kurdish political movement.

In a way, this was the re-declaration of war.

Wars have prices.

And the first price was severe: Authoritarianism…

Government sources considered this price inevitable.

They were saying that with the new military-civilian cooperation and with superior technological equipment the Kurdish political movement was strictly confined, that the PKK was unable to stage activities in southeastern cities and towns, that their propaganda doors were shut and that they had experienced severe losses in every sense.

Then, the bomb exploded.

The PKK attacked and enlarged its scope.

We are at a different stage today.

This stage we have reached is a place which renders all of the praise about security and public order policies meaningless.

These policies have been shattered by the change in the equilibriums of Syria and the Middle East, by the release of Kurdish energy in Syria, the adverse outcome of Turkey’s Syrian policies and by the transformation of the PKK as a force in the Middle East.

This is a new stage.

The PKK’s increase of the dose of terror and violence has to be assessed within this scope. All elements of the Kurdish political movement, including the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), are moving in line with this strategy.

The new situation calls for understanding, and that calls for, before anything else, keeping a distance from praising violent policies or the emotional policies kindled by pain.

Political wisdom points out those moves that will marginalize violence.

Ali Bayramoğlu is a columnist for daily Yeni Şafak in which this piece was published on August 28. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.