Two moves to reshape Turkish politics
Well actually there have been three moves made to reshape Turkish politics in the last two weeks, but two of them happened in the last two days.
The first one was the proposal of the main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to find a way to solve the Kurdish problem under Parliament’s roof and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s positive response to that proposal. It triggered a chain reaction regarding the issue. First, deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay revealed that there has been some contact between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to lay down arms. In the meantime Leyla Zana, a prominent and much suffered Kurdish politician told daily Hürriyet that she believed Erdoğan could solve this issue if he wanted. That same day American sources leaked to the Turkish media that they had told a delegation of the Kurdish problem focused Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) during their visit to Washington D.C. that they should tell the PKK to lay down arms.
And finally, in an interview by Turkish journalist Avni Özgürel of Radikal with the Iraq-based current leader of the PKK Murat Karayılan it was said that it was a pity for him (Karayılan) that the secret Oslo talks between them and the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) collapsed in 2011. This is a reshaping process and we have reason to wait for some more steps to come regarding the Kurdish issue.
The second one came as a total surprise the evening of June 14. For the last few months there has been a seemingly growing rift between the ruling Justice and development Party (AK Parti) government and the followers of the Fethullah Gülen Movement, as one of the government’s main supporters. Gülen, an Islamic scholar who is renown with thousands of Turkish schools opened in more than a hundred countries, has also been accused by the opposition parties of organizing and manipulating the judicial and security apparatus. He has moved to the United States in order to avoid a court case opened against him in 2000, but stayed there after the case was dropped.
Erdoğan who attended the closing ceremony of the ‘10th Turkish Olympiades’ organized by the Gülen Movement among the students of their schools from sub-Saharan Africa to Central Asia, made a call to Gülen and said that he would like to see his return as well. Gülen’s spokesmen welcomed the move, but also underlined that their campaign against the revision of the Specially Authorized Courts in order to limit arrest periods would continue; but with the move Erdoğan won the hearts of the following masses.
The third one came yesterday, June 15. The Constitutional Court decided upon CHP’s application that President Abdullah Gül’s term of office was seven years and he has the right to be a candidate for another five years. The first part made the opposition unhappy; all of them wanted to have a 5+5 decision. The second part made Erdoğan unhappy, who would like to have a seven year term of office and no right given to Gül for a re-election.
There is going to be a lot to watch for those who have an interest in Turkish politics this summer