Today, both the police and the PKK must pass a test
Today, hundreds of thousands will meet in Diyarbakir, among them the extremely angry and sad. This will all occur as a “Kurdish demonstration.”
People will demonstrate their power. The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) has determined its stance; it will not provoke.
We do not know of the stance of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Will it say, “Look, whenever we want to, we can turn the streets into fireballs but this time, we will show the peaceful side of our people,” or will it make its youth attack the surroundings as a sign?
The organization, today, will give the first signal of what it thinks about the İmralı Process.
It is easy to provoke such huge crowds; however, it is very difficult to keep them under control. One sound of a gunshot, one whisper would ruin everything.
Police have a huge responsibility also. As we have seen in previous demonstrations, security forces sometime get very tough. Their reactions can turn the whole place into a battlefield with such justifications as, “They do not have any permission. They spat on police.”
Yet we have seen demonstrations in which the police stand by and there is no incident. But, be careful, we are not talking about the police silently watching while people are being killed or while buildings are burned.
We expect the security forces to act with common sense. We will receive the first sign today. Will this process work or will it be undermined?
I want to be hopeful.
I’m sure you noticed the story that came up last week.
The woods surrounding the Halki Seminary, about 190 hecares, were returned to their owner, the Aya Triada Monastary Foundation. The Seminary had been closed in 1971 in a move against religious schools. Not only the seminary but all the assets of local Greek foundations were seized. Buildings and land were given or sold to Turks. It was not possible to correct this injustice until the Ak Party government. This government has taken remarkable steps regarding minorities. Court cases that were ongoing for 40 years have been finalized. Assets were given back to their former and real owners.
You can imagine what a hard business this is. This last issue has confirmed that Ankara now regards minority issues with a completely different view. But the Halki Seminary is still not open. The Ak Party government that has overcome such difficulties has not opened the school yet.
They have given statements, one after the other, that “it should be opened,” that “it will be opened,” but it has not. We somehow cannot abandon the “reciprocity” principle. When we do something, we expect Greece to reciprocate in the same way. However, the seminary is a part of this country. The clergy educated there are our citizens. To expect reciprocity is an exceptionally wrong approach.