İmralı talks time…
Bouncing back from the verge of total collapse, the “Kurdish opening” is apparently getting equipped with new gear: direct talks with Abdullah Öcalan, the separatist chieftain serving an enforced life term at the İmralı Island prison. The target of the government and hopefully also the clandestine Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) separatist gang is to achieve sufficient enough progress in the “opening” so that at this year’s Nevruz message, Öcalan will declare an end to “armed struggle,” the withdrawal of all PKK terrorists from Turkish territory and announce that, from now, on the “struggle” will be continued only with diplomacy, dialogue and other tools of civilian politics.
Can this be possible? Why not? If there is goodwill; if the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) manages to denounce terrorism and if the imprisoned chieftain manages to control his PKK beast and force it stay out of provocative attacks, it is indeed possible that within a few months, permanent peace and an atmosphere conducive to a resolution to this land’s biggest problem might be attainable.
Can the PKK and the HDP manage to stay out of provocative acts? Very unlikely. Indeed, why was the entire process almost rocked in October despite strong support from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government? The PKK or the “hawks” within the PKK did everything possible and the HDP, which insists on remaining an extension of the terrorist gang and refuses to become a real political party committed to civilian politics, ruined the process last month. Using the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) attacks on Kobane – a Kurdish populated small Syrian town on the border with Turkey – the HDP called people to “take to the streets and take action,” as a result of which 48 people were murdered in a massive uprising rehearsal in 34 provinces.
The government was generous enough to forget the role of HDP in the murder of 48 people last month and accepted to revive the “opening,” hoping that this time the HDP will remain loyal to its commitments. Why did the government develop such a hope? Because in discreet talks, Öcalan apparently promised to be “more active” in the process and keep both the HDP and the terrorists up on the Iraqi mountains in line.
The government has apparently taken a series of steps hoped to “upgrade” and “speed up” the process so that by the summer parliamentary elections, the electorate will start to feel the improved climate in the country. One of those steps is the acceptance of Öcalan’s demand to replace seven prisoners at İmralı with seven PKK-member inmates from other prisons and allow these seven prisoners to serve as some sort of a secretariat for the PKK chieftain during the direct talks with the government, as well as talks through the HDP proxy delegation. By the way, the HDP negotiating team will be enhanced as well to five members from the current three and the visits of the team to İmralı – which were suspended because of the Kobane riots in the country – will be resumed “soon.” The two new members of the HDP’s İmralı team – which comprises of Sırrı Süreyya Önder, Pervin Buldan and İdris Baluken – are expected to be Hatip Diçle of the Democratic Society Congress and Ceylan Bağrıyanık from the Free Women Movement.
Besides, the government has apparently also accepted a key request of a “third eye” group to monitor the process. No… No… It is not the Norwegians or the Americans, the “third eye” group to monitor the talks very closely will include some retired top bureaucrats as well as individuals from the “wise men” teams of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan… Will this “third eye” group help avoid a second Kobane riots crisis, or convince the PKK not to execute officers in bazaars while shopping together with their pregnant wives?
The key will be with Öcalan who saved the entire process at the verge of total collapse by halting PKK provocations and ordering the HDP to stop the language of hate and war mongering.
It is obvious that irrespective of with whom the government talks with in this new period, in essence, it will be talking with Öcalan… The Öcalan time has opened in the “Kurdish opening.” What’s next, apparently no one has an idea, but hopefully this process will carry Turkey to a historic peace with a segment of its people without harming the national and territorial integrity. An example of what the failure would result in is being displayed next door; everyone must be able to see the consequences of failure.