Prime minister not ready for dialogue on Kurdish issue

Prime minister not ready for dialogue on Kurdish issue

Only a few months ago he was saying, “I will not meet the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] and Öcalan; I can talk with the BDP [Peace and Democracy Party].” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan changed his tune last week. He said, “If needed, I will meet both Öcalan and the PKK, but I will not speak to the BDP.”

A few days later, at his party’s congress, he described the outlawed PKK as “dehumanized copies,” without elaborating on what they were copies of.

Meanwhile, also in the top administration of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), everyone who opens his mouth on the Kurdish issue says something different.

The meaning of all this: Even though Erdoğan is trying to look like it, he is not ready to solve the Kurdish issue through dialogue.

There are a few reasons for that. In our culture, compromise does not exist. Erdoğan is also like all of us; he does not have his share of the culture of compromise. Because he is a proud person and because he regards the escalating PKK terror as a personal insult, sitting at a negotiation table is hard for him. He stands up to the whole world and the PKK, a handful of “dehumanized copies,” stands up to him. How come that happens?

Erdoğan’s plan is to be elected president in 2014. Before that, he wants to change the Constitution and introduce the presidential system. However, this will not happen because the number of seats the AKP occupies in Parliament is not adequate. Erdoğan wants to gain this power from the people, the power which seems impossible he will gain through a constitutional change. For this, he needs to win as many votes as he can in the presidential election. He assumes the more votes he gains, the more powerful a president he will become.

He is calculating that talking with the PKK will decrease his votes. One of the reasons he does not want to go to the negotiation table is this.

My enemy’s enemy is my friend
While Erdoğan is shy about sitting at the negotiating table with the PKK again, is the PKK willing to go to Oslo? I don’t think so. The PKK believes it was deceived by Erdoğan in Oslo. Because they fear being deceived again, and since they have the initiative in terror, they do not want to leave arms and sit at the negotiating table. It might even demand much more than it can gain at the table.

My enemy’s enemy is my friend. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s mind-blowingly amateur foreign policy has made Syria, Iran, Iraq and Israel enemies of Turkey simultaneously. And it has given them away to the PKK as allies. The PKK is now friends with these countries, ones we used to have good relations with.

When will Kandil ever have this opportunity again?

Why doesn’t the PKK also eat from the autonomy cake Davutoğlu has served the Syrian Kurds?

Because of Davutoğlu’s blind foreign policy, Turkey has never been this weak against the PKK. The fact that nobody sees that within the AKP, or if they see it they keep quiet, is a major danger and an ongoing tragedy both for Erdoğan and for our country.

If it were me, I would hold a referendum and ask the people: “Shall I solve this issue by talking to the PKK and Öcalan, or shall I continue with this war?” And, according to the outcome, I would proceed with courage and without hesitation.

Metin Münir is a columnist for daily Milliyet in which this piece was published on Oct 3. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.