CHP as the agenda settler

CHP as the agenda settler

The main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) initiative to launch a new mechanism under the roof of Parliament to solve the Kurdish question has already given some results.

First, it provided for a meeting between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and CHP chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (expected to be June 6) who meet in person perhaps less than the U.S. and Russian presidents. Who knows, this would perhaps create a basis for more frequent conversations between the two.

Secondly, it helped us to bring the country’s most urgent problem to the agenda of politics and the media. Coming right after the Wall Street Journal’s report that refreshed debate over the Uludere tragedy, the main opposition party’s initiative forced the entire country to think over the core of the problem once again.

The Uludere tragedy, which claimed the lives of 34 civilians in a botched air strike, has turned into a milestone in the Kurdish question. The CHP is obviously running to capitalize from this situation especially when pressure on the AKP over Uludere is tense. One can also argue that the Uludere issue has taught the ruling party that it cannot solve the problem on its own.

Thirdly, even members in the ruling party echelons (alongside with the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP)) had to admit that they should give credit to the initiative of the main opposition, which has been long criticized for not being able change the country’s agenda with meaningful proposals.

This would, in one sense, both let the CHP enter southeastern Anatolia, a region where social democrats are almost non-existent, and also create sympathy among liberals and secular Kurds whose frustration with the Justice and Development Party (AKP) is growing almost every day. (Note that the AKP’s increasing references to religion in cases such as abortion etc. may potentially harm its goods terms with liberal-minded intellectuals and journalists.)

And fourthly, the move came at a moment when an apparent rapprochement between the AKP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is taking place, in particular regarding the new constitution. An agreement between the AKP, CHP and BDP to form a mechanism, the Societal Conciliation Commission as proposed by the CHP, will cause the alienation of the MHP, the effects of which could be seen in the constitution-making process as well.

With its 95 percent representativeness, current Parliament stands as the most legitimate grounds for resolving the country’s fundamental problems. If this Parliament is writing the new constitution, probing past military coup d’états and passing laws every day to shape the future, it should also deal with the Kurdish question, the country’s most important problem.

Let’s not raise the bar too high, but let’s cross our fingers for a sound process with the participation of all political parties to at least provide a normalized political landscape. This would be a good start for solving the Kurdish issue and ending the violence.