Is it a ‘war coalition?’

Is it a ‘war coalition?’

Turkey is now a “failed country” in many respects that is in total turmoil. Nevertheless, the failure of the Kurdish peace process and the return to arms is the most urgent problem. Most importantly, it costs lives, but freedoms also are suppressed on the pretext of the war on terror, while political crises are also deepening and the economy is sinking as a result.

In fact, the last so-called “peace process” which started two-and-a-half years ago could not be managed by either the government or the Kurdish political body. From the beginning, the major problem was the ambiguity on the definition of the “Kurdish political solution” and indeed on the definition of the “Kurdish political body.” 

We all know that the political body was constituted by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), its imprisoned leader, Abdullah Öcalan, its armed wing in Kandil and finally the Kurdish political parties (under different names after each closure), which receive the support of PKK sympathizers. The government considered Öcalan the sole power center and hoped to make “a favorable deal” with him; this is how the last peace process and meetings with Öcalan began. Then, however, Kurds declared their decision to unite their political fate with the fate of Turkey’s democratization and aimed to found a political party with broad political support; that is how the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) came onto the scene.

As the negotiations with Öcalan continued, nobody really knew what was at stake, since it was not a transparent political process. When we asked about the content of the deal, we were accused by the government of “sabotaging peace by criticism.” Besides, democrats who inquired about the peace process were also almost accused by their Kurdish political friends of being over-skeptical about Kurdish politics and of putting their opposition to the government before Kurdish interests. 

As the government refrained from taking democratic and judicial steps to sustain a political solution, Kurdish politicians seemed not to be bothered, since they must have been satisfied by the informal promises. It was so far, so bad.

Now, things got even more complicated, since after the HDP successfully obtained 13 percent of the votes, which is far beyond the PKK’s support, the PKK “surprisingly” decided to start armed struggle again. Now, Kurds have tried to justify the decision by the bomb blast in Suruç which happened just after the election and killed dozens of youth who were there to give civilian support to Kobane. However, it is not a very convincing justification, since more civilians were killed in a few days of demonstrations for Kobane last October and there have been some more provocations against the cease-fire before. It is not convincing also because the PKK’s decision ultimately played into the hand of the president and his party who are trying to delegitimize the HDP as a democratic force.

It was the HDP’s election success which weakened the governing party and not only prevented a new AKP government, but also the plans for a presidential system. Moreover, the HDP’s main election promise was to “hinder the presidential system.” It seems that the peace process ended because Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government’s plan to make a deal with Kurds on a presidential system is failed. 

The crucial question is why Kurds, too, are helping those who opt for war when their plans failed and why they decided to sacrifice their democratic success? What is the position of Öcalan? Is it possible that the PKK made such a big decision to return to armed struggle without that authorization or with the opposition of Öcalan? Since Öcalan communicates with the outside world only through Turkish intelligence, is it possible that the communication is being meddled with, or what? Why are Kurdish politicians prioritizing the demand for starting dialogue with Öcalan over objections against the HDP’s criminalization and delegitimization? Why are some Kurdish municipalities declaring “autonomy” in the middle of this mess?

A Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporter and academic stated in an interview that the government plans to start negotiations after the PKK is weakened. Even if this is true, it sounds like a confession that the peace process only meant a horse trading and was nothing to do with democratization and social peace. 

If that is so for AKP, what about the Kurds? Are they also considering going back to horse trading? If not, why form a “war coalition” with the AKP, against the HDP, democracy and social peace? They owe a serious answer to all of us who want peace and democracy. Why, why, why?