Opening: Who is fooling whom?

Opening: Who is fooling whom?

The government is talking about starting to undertake in October the reforms the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist gang has been demanding. Why in October? Because Parliament is on recess until Oct. 1. What reforms? Government spokesman Bülent Arınç said that apart from himself, only Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay and, of course, the prime minister knew what reforms would be undertaken. He said that when the time comes, the premier or relevant ministers may provide some hints about the reforms or the prime minister might announce them…

That’s the way things proceed in advanced democracies as opposed to normal democracies, where people waste time discussing such things in public, in academic circles and, of course, in Parliament. Why waste time? The prime minister – if he wishes so – may discuss the issue with the ministers and relevant ministers and make up a decision or save the time of his ministers and just tell them what to do, and when to do it. In the end, why has he been employing so many precious people as advisers?

The Mr. Know-It-All Prime Minister is angry these days. He was always angry, but this time it is different. The enforced life-term convict separatist chieftain has started making public everything that he has discussed with the government in proxy talks. Not only has he started demonstrating his power in the gang by remotely changing its top executives or sending his supporters onto the streets in many southeastern towns, he has started talking about holding a press conference.

As pledged earlier, the government decided to increase the number of inmates at the İmralı island prison by eight, four of whom are women. Still, the separatist chieftain is demanding more. The PM is frustrated, but what can he do? Can he call off the process, saying it was not moving forward anyhow? But, for the past five months there has been almost no separatist terrorist activity. If on average 20-25 people were losing their lives every month in terrorism-related violence, who can refuse to acknowledge the lives saved? But, the gang has been whispering that it is about to make a deal with the Turkish government and that all its members on the mountain will be comfortably rehabilitated into civilian life, with proper public employment. Thus, there has been an incredible increase in the number of gang recruits.

Siirt Gov. Ahmet Aydın told reporters that over the past two months there was a marked increase in the number of young people joining the separatist gang. Not only the Siirt governor, but many local officials and ministers have been stating the same thing. Intelligence reports cited by the prime minister say the gang only withdrew from Turkey about 15 percent of its militants inside the country. Worse, those terrorists pulled out of the country were mostly aged or ill terrorists. The spokespersons of the gang and its pen-slingers in the media in an allegiance relationship with the government, as well as the government itself, were all claiming that by the end of June, all the terrorists would be abroad. Now, the gang is asking for time until the end of September, tacitly confirming complaints that it did not withdraw its armed men.

The gang has been complaining that it has done whatever was agreed between the government and its chieftain in proxy talks and that now the time has come to undertake legislative and constitutional reforms; the government has started complaining that the gang has been trying to cheat the process by not delivering what it promised, such as withdrawing its armed men, from Turkish territory. As the process is not moving forward, is this yet again a “blame the other” game, or who is fooling whom?