Politics vs violence

Politics vs violence

Is there any meaning in repeating something that has been underlined so many times in this column and in many other articles written by people who desire peace in this country? Under duress of arms, violence and separatist terrorism, there can be no prospect of achieving peace. A political party must understand that from the moment people decide to engage in politics, they must agree that politics is civilian, that there is no place for arms and violence in politics and that instead of the subsequent use of force, there should be an attempt to solve problems through compromise, dialogue and give and take.

Where did the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) fail? Why did so many people who were neither Kurds nor even leftists decide to vote for the HDP in the June election last year but in less than few months, lost all hope and abandoned the party in the November election? Worse, why was the HDP no longer even considered by many liberals or leftists as a political actor that might contribute to a resolution to the Kurdish problem? Don’t we need to create a HDP if there is not one? Don’t we need a “civilian partner” to establish national peace and achieve progress for our land and people in tranquility?

The HDP should not be the only one to be blamed for the horrible situation the country has landed in. Blame must also be apportioned to the one who has grandiose aspirations, who aims to become the sole and unchallenged power holder in the country and who follows a not only majoritarian but also dictatorial political understanding. Those shallow politicians who could not compromise for the sake of the well-being of the nation, insisted on fictitious ideals, buried their heads in the sand like an ostrich and did not realize the grave dangers ahead were of course responsible as well. Now, in a few days’ time, one of these politicians and his obsessed team that successfully served as a political support for the tall, bald, bold man whenever such support was needed might become history. 

Unfortunately, Turkey has become accustomed to losing beloved ones at heinous attacks. It has been almost a year since the “peace process” – which was apparently a period of neglecting responsibilities on the part of the government and arming towns and cities to the teeth for the separatist gang – ended. Over 1,000 Turks have lost their lives in this period to terrorism-related violence or in operations against terrorists. There has been no indication whether the problem might end soon. Anyhow, those in top administrative posts talk of a fight that will continue until doomsday. What does that mean? Was it a confession that this fight will never produce a result?

Indeed so… As long as the root causes are not eliminated, this fight cannot produce any result, though it might help contain terrorism. To eliminate the root causes there is a need for dialogue, a will to compromise and a determination to explore ways out. Compromise requires a willingness to make bitter concessions with an awareness that to build a common future, a national consensus must be established.

Those who allowed streets, villages, towns and cities to become an arms depot for terrorists, who ordered the military and police to turn their heads and who avoided seeing terrorists pass by with arms should not try to pin the blame for the failure on anyone else. 

A politician or political party leader visiting wounded terrorists in hospitals and wishing them a speedy recovery cannot be a reason to try to lynch him or issue death threats against with an empty bullet thrown in his path. Worse, the president of a country cannot blame the opposition leader for abetting terrorism just because he visited wounded terrorists in hospital. Were we not proud of our soldiers trying to comfort wounded terrorists in areas of operation? Were our health personnel not trying to save the lives of wounded terrorists? The terrorists we have been deploring are our sons as well. Yes, they were involved in something heinous. Their actions cannot be condoned. They cannot be forgiven. But, everyone who claims to be human must try to sympathize with the parents of those sons and daughters engaged in deplorable actions.

Furthermore, if even an enemy must be treated well under the 1864 Geneva Convention, how can a country turn so blind to the sufferings of its own cheeky, undisciplined, wrong, bad – say whatever you like – sons and daughters?

Whether we like it or not, even by re-inventing the notorious EMASYA protocol and ordaining the military with such powers as if there is an undeclared national emergency rule or taking every possible military measure will not end terrorism. At the end of the day, we have to walk the civilian road, try to solve the problem by eradicating its root causes by eradicating the democratic shortcomings of this country.

Yes, the problem we have is a Kurdish problem but it indeed is just a segment of the overall democratization problem of Turkey. A mentality that can go to the extent of questioning the blood of some German deputies of ethnic Turkish background because they made a decision disliked by many in Turkey is not a healthy one. 
Only if Turkey realizes that it requires democracy, engagement, consensus and compromise to solve its problems – instead of force, police measures and empty rhetoric – will there be an opportunity for a resolution.

Politics and violence cannot be put in the same basket, irrespective of who wants to do it.