PM should import a piece of the Arab Spring for Kurds

PM should import a piece of the Arab Spring for Kurds

No doubt, throughout this week, all eyes will be on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s four-day trip to Arab Spring countries and messages he will convey to the Muslim world as well as to Israel. Already described as historic, this trip of Erdoğan will likely cement his well-established reputation in the Muslim world, further boosting his charisma on the Arab streets while fueling concern among authoritarian administrations in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.

Against the rise in his popularity in the Muslim world, no need to emphasize his tarnished reputation among the Turkish citizens of Kurdish descent over the government’s controversial policies to solve the Kurdish question. Today, frustration among Kurdish politicians is getting deeper when they see this double-standard applied by the government when it comes to the rights and demands of the Kurdish people. For a very long time, the government seems to have forgotten promises it made during the high days of the “Kurdish Opening” on Kurdish demands.

Despite nearly a year-long unilateral truce by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK - allegedly secured as a result of secret talks between the government and the terror organization to ease the ruling party’s hands ahead of the June 12 general elections - Erdoğan’s government failed to take any concrete steps toward this end. It did not reduce the election threshold, and it did not undertake legislative action for the release of deputies behind bars. In addition, it did not oppose the arrest of dozens of Kurdish politician as part of ongoing KCK operations. In the meantime, Abdullah Öcalan’s weekly meetings with his lawyers were precluded.

In light of these developments, the PKK has ended its unilateral truce and begun a brutal terror campaign, killing dozens of security forces and innocent civilians. In return, the army launched fresh operations into northern Iraq and within Turkish territories to crack down on terrorists. That was how current vicious circles emerged.

To break this cycle, there is a great opportunity before the government and the Peace and Development Party, or BDP.

The Parliament will end its months-long summer recess on Oct. 1, nearly three weeks from now, marking the beginning of a new legislative year, which will decidedly focus on the making of a new constitution. In this sense, ending the parliamentary boycott of the BDP deputies is of critical importance in defusing political tension within the country. However, alongside with the BDP brass, the ruling party officials should be as much as constructive within this period. Selahattin Demirtaş, leader of the BDP, complains in his personal talks that, “Whenever we feel ready to end the boycott, Prime Minister Erdoğan makes such a statement that kills off our plans”.

Oct. 1, the opening day of the Parliament, will be a decisive one in determining the future climate of Turkish politics. It will also affect the current state of the fight against terror, especially at a moment when more and more Turkish officials are sending signals of a new ground military operation into northern Iraq.

Wouldn’t be very good if Prime Minister Erdoğan would import to Turkey a piece of the Spring he will observe in Arab countries?