Another chance for peace

Another chance for peace

The tacit agreement between the government and Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) to show serenity at the funerals of three female Kurdish politicians who were killed in Paris a week ago, proved very successful. Most political observers agree that it could set a good example and provided a chance for the future peace process.

Nevertheless, we should interpret the lessons that this event taught us very carefully. First of all, it is seen that if the security forces restrain from violent reactions (by the decision of the government, of course) at public demonstrations, there end up being peaceful expressions of political protest. Then, the successful organization of the BDP showed that the BDP is a capable actor not only in mobilizing but also in controlling the masses. Otherwise, the funerals could easily have turned into political rallies with a high level of political tension.

Unfortunately, the governing party and wider Turkish public opinion have a tendency to read the picture differently and expect the BDP to do the job of policing rather than represent politicized Kurdish society. Such an evaluation of the BDP’s compliance with the government for the funerals could lead Turkey to make grave mistakes.

In fact, this is the root of the problem concerning the Kurdish issue. It is that the government (and in fact Turkish public opinion, in general) insists on imposing its own view on all actors on the Kurdish political scene. Accordingly, politicized Kurdish society and their democratic representatives, the BDP, are required not only to completely sever their ties with the armed faction, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), but also to police its millions of sympathizers, mostly in southeast Turkey. The PKK is asked to disarm itself and its leaders are advised to seek a quiet life in foreign countries and even “to apologize to Turkey for disrupting the process of democratization in Turkey” and hindering the rise of Turkey as “a global star.” PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan is expected to call the PKK to disarm and dismantle itself without even being able to have direct communication with the actors of this political movement. This is the summary of the government’s current policies.

Nonetheless, those who hold “high expectations which are based on delusions” end up waiting for a long time for nothing, if not worse. That is why Turkey should not miss this golden chance and seek a total revision of its politics concerning the Kurdish issue. The BDP’s compliance with the government for the funerals could be a very good start. But first of all, the government should learn not to test the limits of compliance at the expense of the BDP and Kurdish politicians.

Only in the end can all of us that want a peaceful and democratic solution to the Kurdish issue ask the BDP to take a more active and responsible role, that is, only if the party is given the chance to play a role other than policing Kurds.