The good news and the bad news

The good news and the bad news

Thank God, the fight has ended after all, this is something to celebrate regardless! What comes next is another matter.

Unfortunately, so far, the peace process seems to be based on “the Turkish-Kurdish megalo-idea” as I call it. That is the government and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan seem to agree on “strategic partnership,” rather than on a more “democratic future.” Nevertheless, even though the idea of strategic partnership offers very little for the prospect of democratization, I still hope that this is the case. Otherwise, the process may mean only a tool for the governing party to gain time and a chance to further expand its hegemony. If it is really going to be a strategic partnership, at least Kurds will have something to gain like more recognition, cultural rights and freedoms. Besides, we all have something to gain: the end of armed conflict. It may be tragic to choose between peace and democracy, but peace is worth taking the risk since anything is better than more Turks and Kurds continuing to kill each other.

Before moving on, perhaps I have to explain why I think that peace and democracy may not be compatible all the time, and that we may need to consider making a tragic choice, because I think that if the deal is based on the idea of strategic partnership, our space of free speech will be further limited, considering the political climate in Turkey. The grandiose of past and future projections are destined to reduce the importance of the rights and liberties of individuals and of “lesser identities.”

So far, it seems that both Öcalan and the government have grand plans for a regional political alliance. That is why both refer to the bright past and future of Kurds and Turks. The perfect plan is to support each other to bring back the lost power that is assumed to have been the result of a historical alliance of Turks and Kurds. That is why some call it “Ottoman peace” and “Öcalan the neo-Ottomanist” (İhsan Dağı, Zaman, March 22, Muharrem Sarıkaya, Habertürk, March 21). Öcalan’s historical message is so much welcomed by conservative circles that his words are taken even as if Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu speaks them (Ahmet Taşgetiren, Bugün, March 22).

The only problem is that Öcalan’s grand theory so far has been based on left-wing ideals with lots of references to society, equality, women’s rights, ecology and so forth, whereas Davutoğlu’s grand theory is based on right-wing Ottoman nostalgia with lots of references to civilization, power and past glories. Nevertheless, in postmodern times the boundaries between left and right-wing political ideals are blurred enough for unlikely political alliances.

We cannot know if these grand theories and projects will lead to a grand dialogue and alliance or to clash and confrontation, but we can be sure that the first casualties of grand plans are democracy and freedoms. So far, the political criticism has been silenced as expressions of being the enemy of the government, the stability and the future of the country. From now on, any critic should think twice to avoid being the enemy of Kurds as well as Turks, and (worse) being the enemy of “peace.”