Absence of a credible Kurdish political party

Absence of a credible Kurdish political party

A chieftain of the separatist gang has announced that they have unilaterally given up the ceasefire that they had unilaterally declared in 2013. The gang, the chieftain said, would attack military outposts, dams “constructed for military purposes,” and the heavy machinery used in the construction of dams, roads and military outposts. The civilian or parliamentary wing of the gang shyly declared that the gang had not declared an all-out termination of the ceasefire. What they said was that this was an end to the “silence of guns” for “retaliatory” purposes and “limited to” roads, dams built for military reasons and outposts. It is a tragicomedy.

Does anyone remember Gunter Verhaugen, then-European Union enlargement commissioner, who after the 2004 simultaneous referenda on Cyprus declared that he was “deceived” by Greek Cypriots who voted to kill the settlement plan? Many people who voted for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) believing it has become a “party of Turkey” that is willing to contribute to a climate that might bring about a resolution to the Kurdish issue within Turkey’s territorial and national integrity, have realized all of a sudden how grossly they were deceived. The HDP was no different to scores of preceding “political extensions” of the separatist gang, and just as incapable as all previous “political extensions” to offer “civilian steps.”

It is appalling. The nation that gave over 13 percent of votes and sent the HDP to parliament with 80 deputies wanted to hear far more than a shy “the PKK must lay down arms, but that call must be made by [jailed PKK head Abdullah] Öcalan” remark. There ought to be a difference between a separatist terrorist gang and a political party. If a party is shy, cowardly, or just cannot take the risk of uttering something contrary to what a terrorist chieftain declares from a mountaintop enclave in northern Iraq, can it be a party? Would it be wrong to say what many people considered to be a party was indeed just a political extension of a terrorist gang? Can such a gang merit being voted for a second time? The HDP is rapidly losing a golden opportunity. If the election threshold is not lowered in a repeat or early election then no one should be surprised if it receives just 4-6 percent of the vote, condemned by the electorate to stay out of parliament.

As much as it was an expression of support for a civilian resolution of the Kurdish issue, it was a “strategic” choice for many “white Turks” or “patriotic Turks” to vote for the HDP. Many people believed that if the HDP exceeded the 10 percent electoral threshold it might send to parliament deputies not only from the southeastern provinces but also from western and Mediterranean Turkish cities. Indeed, that is what happened on the evening of June 7 when the votes were counted. The HDP won 80 seats in parliament, depriving the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of its parliamentary majority. With the election, the nation sought to close the majoritarian and dictatorial leadership and governance style of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and open a chapter of democracy in Turkey.

The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) was the first to betray the vote of the nation, stressing that it wanted to be the “main opposition party” and would not be part of any government configuration in which the HDP was directly or indirectly involved. That was, of course, a big blow to the anti-AKP 60 percent block that the nation expected to form a “restoration majority” in parliament.

Now, the HDP is tacitly declaring to the nation that it was a joke, not a political party capable of calling for a farewell to arms. Can anyone now accuse the MHP of betraying the nation by staying away from any government formula that includes the HDP? Can anyone expect the MHP to accept entering a coalition with the PKK? No way. Thus, the HDP not only negated hopes for an AKP-less coalition government, but also made it extremely difficult for the “opposition block” to pursue any sort of democratic reform move in parliament without enrolling the AKP. As a result, the MHP has acted like the crutch of the AKP, while the HDP has proved to be a terrorist extension that cannot be relied upon in any way.

If the HDP can only develop an opinion on anything related to the separatist terrorism issue after consulting the imprisoned chieftain Öcalan, what’s the point of having the HDP involved in the process? It is the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) that has been meeting with Öcalan anyway. 

Indeed, there is a strong need for a “civilian” party to talk about “civilian measures,” as a Kurdish resolution cannot be restricted to ending the mutiny on the mountains, but must also cater to the expectations and desires of the ethnically or culturally Kurdish people of this country.