Talking with terrorists

Talking with terrorists

Due to the dominance of the country’s agenda by the Syrian quagmire there appears to be far less reporting in the media on “domestic security” incidents, but body bags keep coming from the separatist terrorism stricken areas.

At funerals in the big mosques of the city or in the small mosques of rural towns and villages politicians of all ranks and caliber and active duty military officers deliver lofty rhetoric, such as the prime minister’s statement that terrorism will soon be wiped off. A gigantic portrait of the separatist chieftain found itself a place not at clandestine separatist demonstrations, but at an Ankara hall where the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) was having its convention. A legally-established political party adamantly suggested the government discuss “peace” with the so-called Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the city organization of the separatist gang. An American ambassador talking with a group of media representatives disclosed that his country suggested Turks cooperate in an operation similar to the one that led to the “capture” of Osama bin Laden in order to net the top executives of the separatist gang, but Ankara declined. Scores of Kurdish activists and members of the gang are on hunger strikes in many Turkish prisons. Some began hunger strikes as early as Sept. 12 and might soon find their health in critical condition.

It is obvious that the solely military approach of the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s failed to solve the Kurdish issue and the separatist terrorism menace. The “turn the other cheek” approach of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), or the “civilian approach” will not succeed either. Naturally, the fundamental duty of any state is to ensure the foremost of all rights, the right to live. Thus, there can never be a letup in security operations. On the other hand, since a solely security focused approach cannot achieve an end to the problem, there is a need to address the social, economic and indeed psychological aspects of the problem through civilian engagement. While focusing on the civilian engagement the AKP governance unfortunately neglected the security dimension for some time. Encouraged by that the terrorists ran wild, they believed the State had surrendered and staged that sham at the Habur border gate in October 2009. A second attempt run aground when secret talks known as the Oslo process, were exposed by the gang. After these incidents terrorism surged as if the gang hoped to achieve its aim through bloody blackmail.

I have to concede, despite all my criticism of the policies and mindset of the current Islamist political clan, no other government has tried as much as the AKP to achieve a resolution to the Kurdish problem through civilian politics and reforms. No one should forget that just less than two decades ago using the word Kurdish was a taboo in this country. Today there is a Kurdish TV channel, selective Kurdish courses are taught at schools and many other developments. Is this sufficient? Of course not, yet there is progress being made. This process ought to be continued even though some might express dissatisfaction with its pace and still others accuse the government of acting in haste and “demolishing” the Turkish state.

Now, there are some fresh moves. The prime minister has said he may instruct the intelligence chief to do whatever possible to talk with the imprisoned chieftain and achieve peace.

I am scared. Each time we talk of peace and talks with the gang, more body bags come… Yet, is there another way? Unfortunately not, we have to engage!