We cannot give up on democracy
In the past one-and-a-half years, we have had 33 terrorist bomb attacks. We have lost 446 lives in these attacks, 363 of them civilians. We have more than 2,000 injured and we do not even know how many of them have permanent injuries.
After each of the 33 attacks, our officials say the same things: Revenge will be taken. These villains will not have any other opportunities. They will pay the price for this multiple times. Nobody should test the strength of Turkey, etc.
Of course, after every attack, operations were conducted against the suspected organization.
If it is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) that attacks, the response will be with artillery fire; its domestic cells will be raided. If it is the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that attacks, the first stage will be to bomb the Kandil Mountains, then conduct several arrests associated with the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
But none of these prevented the terrorist attacks.
Let us not be unjust to our security forces: No doubt, two or more times the number of attacks were prevented in time with correct intelligence. But as you can see, it is not adequate.
A crazed murderer group finds a way to get through and comes out to massacre our people.
Well, what are we going to do? Are we going to accept these attacks as “a reality of life” and live accordingly?
By moving away from crowds, by piling concrete blocks in front of police stations and military barracks? Are we going to intensify security policies and turn the country into a prison for all of us?
No. We should have been able to see up until today that none of this will work. We should try another road.
It has to be told to the terrorist, “We are not going to the place you want to take us.”
What this separatist movement is trying to do with arms and terror is to divide us; I guess we all agree on this.
Even if it is impossible to totally wipe out this separatist terrorist organization, we have to take the steps to marginalize it, to minimize its social grassroots.
This is, actually, “not giving up” on democracy. It is to show that we can live together within a democratic regime respecting human rights. The international support for the fight against terror can be obtained by demonstrating to everybody that Turkey is a democratic state of law.
Since the year 1978, when the PKK was founded, we have been face to face with separatist terror. A very long low-density war has been fought and we have lost thousands of people. The peace process was put forward as an out-of-the-box hope for peace but it did not succeed.
We know why it did not succeed: the PKK did not give up on its separatist targets; the government that initiated and conducted the process used it to manage the country free of incidents until the elections, not for a permanent solution.
The high rate of votes the HDP obtained after the June elections motivated the PKK. The concern for the chance for a political solution on the horizon took the organization back to its former stage.
Weapons and ammunition were piled up in urban areas taking advantage of the tolerance during the peace process. They were taken out and used with the confidence that they could create autonomous regions and a popular uprising, turning the region into a war zone. The PKK also supported this policy with terrorist attacks in Turkey’s cities.
It made good use of the military and political field of movement the Syrian civil war offered it.
Only someone living in a dream world could failing to foresee that these developments would unfold this way.
As our colleague, daily Hürriyet writer Fikret Bila, wrote in his new book, the PKK has never given up on its separatist policies despite what their jailed leader, Abdullah Öcalan, said from time to time.
With its actions attempting to corner the HDP before the second elections, it tried to demonstrate that there cannot be a political solution; it is continuing to do that.
Today, in this fight, what the PKK wants the most is no doubt to prove to its own grassroots that there is no democratic political solution and that there cannot be one.
Our rulers should be able to make a correct decision on what they should be fighting against.