Leaking politics

Leaking politics

Another bomb was blasted on the path of the peace process, when documents of the recent talks in İmralı between Abdullah Öcalan and a group of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) MPs were leaked.

Both the government and the BDP leadership declared that the process would not be threatened by the leaks, yet it just turned out to be part of an atmosphere of “leaking politics,” since all parties concerned started accusing, falsifying, and undermining each other.

Leaving aside the question of who is responsible for the leaks, it became clearer after the leaks that the negotiation process is going to be more complicated than currently thought. In fact, from the beginning, any remark recognizing the complexity and fragility of the process has been considered a further obstacle in the way of peaceful resolution. That is why the government and its supporters are calling the leaks a “big sabotage.” It may be considered careless and untimely, but, at the end of the day, are we not supposed to know what Öcalan says on the matter? So, why it is a “sabotage”?

Besides, governmental circles refer to Öcalan so often - speculating about his politics and suggesting possible rifts between him and the other actors in the Kurdish movement - that he and his role have turned out to be a “new myth.” Obviously, government circles used to think that it would be in their interests to keep Öcalan’s opinions unknown as long as possible. Knowing the symbolic importance of Öcalan in the eyes of millions of Kurds, the government is trying to reach Kurdish public opinion directly, by eliminating the other actors. At the same time, it is very important for the government to maintain control of channeling his messages, especially to Turkish public opinion. That is why Öcalan was presented by government circles almost as a “man of peace and conciliation” - a wise leader who would make a call for disarmament. Finally, it is thought that the government would therefore have the chance to accuse any other actor who raises any objections as a rival to Öcalan - a marginal, a warlord, or a war monger.

Nevertheless, sooner or later, reality strikes back. Unless the government recognizes the realities of Kurdish politics there will always be incidents that reveal the realities. It does not help the finding of a peaceful solution and, indeed, it is not intelligent to define such incidents as “sabotages.”

Öcalan’s words that were leaked recently are controversial in many ways, and altogether make for a clumsy political text. Nonetheless, they reminds us of a very simple truth that a “rebel leader” cannot be used as a “practical tool” for a quick solution. It is better to recognize the complexity of such a peace process and put in efforts to overcome the difficulties. The biggest sabotage on the path of a peaceful resolution is to refuse to recognize the challenges. The biggest obstacle on the path is not the leaks, but rather the “leaking politics,” which reveals that we are still a long way from having a serious long-term vision concerning a peaceful solution to the Kurdish problem.