Peace and guns

Peace and guns

It was in the news; led by some senior members of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) some supporters of the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist gang gathered at Mount Kato; wrote with fire the name of their imprisoned chieftain on the mountain; fired rounds of bullets in the air; swore at Turks and the Turkish state. They were said to be celebrating peace.

Aug. 15, 1984 was the day when the heinous gang attacked for the first time at the outskirts of Eruh town of Siirt and Şemdinli town of Hakkari. In those attacks Süleyman Aydın was murdered, three civilians and nine soldiers were wounded. Ever since that date the gang and its supporters mark the day as the “first fire festivity.” Is it possible to mark with festivities a day which indeed is the anniversary of the start of an armed terrorist campaign against the Turkish state with the notion of peacemaking, peace and good intentions?

The Kurdish opening of the government has started producing some awkward results. Is it indeed possible to walk the uphill road to peace together with some people still marking the anniversary of violence committed against the Turkish nation? Is it possible to negotiate peace with the gang still holding the entire country hostage and dictating its terms to the government every other day? The terrorists have not laid down arms. The terrorists only withdrew the aged and inactive members out of the country (with their arms). Every day their political extensions are making provocative remarks using as pretext either the size of the prison room or the health of their chieftain. As is said in Turkish, he is as healthy as a pig, but still every other day, as if someone who masterminded the murder of so many thousands of people, including kids and the aged indeed deserves sympathy, someone is talking about how bad the conditions he is subjected to in the prison are. It is as if other prisoners are in better condition than him. Still, good news; government is now moving him to a larger, over 20-square-meter room with a separate bath and toilet.

It is of course difficult for anyone with conscience to consider the possibility of seeing the separatist chieftain coming out of prison free like a human being. Yet we all know that one day that will happen. Talking about this issue every day is nothing but an attempt to torpedo the already deficient peace process. The Turkish people are not yet ready physically or psychologically to accept the idea of seeing someone they mostly consider as a beast to come out of prison as a free man, or as someone in active politics. Still, for the sake of peace; at least for the period of silenced guns to last longer, people are gulping each time they hear from the mouths of PKK or BDP provocateurs that the chieftain must be freed.

Peace has to be nourished with patience and can be promoted only after violence is denounced and arms are laid down by the terrorists. This is a one-way road walked down alone by the Turkish government. For the first time terrorists have taken over some parts of the Turkish territory, staging ID checks in cities, erecting checkpoints on the highways, acting as alternate policemen while the military, instructed by the government, remains just a watchful but incapacitated eye. It is like that joke about the so-called zero-problems foreign policy objective. How can Turkey have zero-problems with neighbors? Either by surrendering to their demands, or by dictating to them. Neither was possible; the policy collapsed.

How long can we continue this idle walk to peace. Or, are we indeed walking to peace or to a bigger surrender? What about the upcoming Kurdish conference, where with our contribution the PKK will appear for the first time as a legitimate participant? Is it not sad to see Turkey legitimizing the PKK while the gang has not moved even an inch toward making peace with Turkey?

Guns and peace cannot exist together. Can it be assumed that Turkey is in an exercise of co-habitation and the government is pursuing a defeatist approach for the sake of achieving some peaceful time before crucial local, parliamentary and presidential elections? Is that all?