Turkey's Y generation will solve the Kurdish problem

Turkey's Y generation will solve the Kurdish problem

Everyone who is following the developments about Gezi Park, which went beyond objections to the demolition of the park by turning into anti-government protests, is asking what will happen next.

I don’t think anyone can give a healthy answer to this question as the real actors of these demonstrations have surprised us by their activism and thus showed us that we did not know much about them.

It seems I didn’t even know my 25-year-old niece. She used to make me tremendously angry when she would, for instance, prefer to put her earphones on and check her iphone, rather than joining us in our family conversations. It seems instead of being connected to us, she was connected with her peers and exchanging views not only on the latest trends in the music world but also on what’s going on in the country.

“We used to resist through our keyboards, now we are on the street,” a youngster in Gezi Park told me.

While it is difficult to predict what will happen next, those people who are over 45 years old started to voice pessimistic scenarios. As they have witnessed the bloody street fights in the 1970’s, they are very concerned that Taksim square, with its current situation where there is no authority, is very much open to provocations.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s provocative rhetoric justifies these concerns. He first said he had difficulty keeping the other 50 percent at home; then he did not stop thousands of his supporters chanting, “Let us go and crash Gezi.” Despite several denials, he keeps repeating that youngsters entered mosques with their shoes and alcohol, in a clear effort to agitate his pious constituency.

Obviously this dangerous rhetoric is making people fear a possible clash between “Gezi demonstrators” and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporters.

It could be said that the biggest security valve against provocations are the Gezi demonstrators themselves. They will not fight back with sticks if they are attacked by AKP supporters. Simply because a) they know that they are not talented for physical fighting and do not wish for it, b) they know they can’t beat their adversaries, c) they know how this could be damaging for their cause.

So even if things will start turning ugly, either through a strong police crackdown or some kind of a provocation; they will disperse, but only to make a comeback. They will find another way to make their voice heard.

The fact that the youngsters in Taksim square have succeeded in maintaining an environment that made the coexistence of groups with nearly mutually exclusive ideologies possible gives me tremendous hope for the future.

I saw a Kurdish woman explain why the outlawed Kurdistan People’s Party, PKK’s jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan mattered, to a youngster who said, “look I have no problem with the BDP [pro Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party] But I don’t like to see the pictures of Öcalan here.”)

I saw young people separating two young men, one from BDP the other from TGB, a youth union which is not known to be sympathetic to the Kurdish cause, who were about to fight.

This generation might not have a specific political affiliation but they are united by universal values of democracy and fundamental freedoms; which is key to the solution of many problems including the Kurdish issue.

This is a generation that says, “Hey dude, it seems Kurds want education in their native language; let them have it for f**k’s sake!”