Oslo: Ode to thinking clearly

Oslo: Ode to thinking clearly

One of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s most significant quotes is: “Whatever can be thought, can be thought clearly. Whatever can be said, can be said clearly.” If the German philosopher had lived in Turkey rather than the United Kingdom, I doubt he would have been able to say this, because this place is the fatherland of vague thinking and shuffling. One of the things we are worst at is thinking and expressing thoughts clearly.

Our inability to think clearly about the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and to talk about it clearly is the most important reason that we are swimming in a bloodbath today (and inevitably this bloodbath will get larger tomorrow).

Therefore, let’s do some clear-thinking exercises. There are two ways to end the PKK problem: through war and through talks.

The experience of the past thirty-some years has demonstrated that PKK terrorism cannot be eliminated by fighting. It cannot be removed by taking social or economic measures either. The only road left is to talk with the PKK (I am including Abdullah Öcalan and the Peace and Democracy Party [BDP] in the PKK) and to meet its reasonable demands, as voiced by the BDP.

To establish peace, if Öcalan needs to be released and if the top commanders of the PKK, including Murat Karayılan need to be pardoned, then these things should be done, because peace is many times more precious than the lives and comfort of Öcalan, Karayılan and others. Peace is unique; it would calm Turkey and make it a paradise – the others are here today, gone tomorrow.

No concession made to the PKK can be more precious than ending the bloodshed, or the belated goals of democratization and development.

Those who say, “No, I will not speak with the PKK; I will fight until the end” are actually saying “I am in favor of this war, which is impossible to win, continuing forever and becoming more and more bloody. I can pay its price in human life and money. I know that in the end Turkey may be partitioned, but I’m like a dog with a bone; let their blood be shed as well as mine.”

Those who do not favor dialogue favor war. Those who favor war favor the flood. Speaking and agreeing with the PKK requires courage and wisdom. Who has those?

Do not assume that the negotiation rooms we vacated in Oslo are empty now. Nowadays the Colombian government is preparing to talk to the FARC guerillas there. The FARC’s terrorism, which is a rebellion of the poor against the rich, has continued for 50 years. Between 50,000 and 200,000 people have lost their lives, and three million have been forced to migrate. According to the Financial Times, the Colombian economy has lost $370 billion due to it. (Do these statistics remind you of anything?)
At the beginning of September, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, with his Cabinet members and army commander at his side, pledged to put an end to the terrorism, saying, “I take all the responsibility.” One hour later, FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño spoke from the jungle, saying the road ahead for Colombia was dialogue, not violence.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) here do not even have the courage to acknowledge that they went to Oslo and struck a deal there. The stance of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), on the other hand, is pathetic as always.

Just continue. Show Turkey how those who cannot manage the process are managed by the process.

Metin Münir is a columnist for daily Milliyet, in which this piece was published on Sept. 26. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.

METİN MÜNİR - mmunir@milliyet.com.tr