Will Kurds and Islamists bring peace?
KORAY ÇALIŞKANLet me state my opinion right away: As long as peace arrives, it could be that our democracy does not advance as fast. Don’t be mad at me. I’m explaining the reason why below.
There are many who express an opinion over an inaccurate contrast. They say, “How come the Kurds trust the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and say ‘ok’ to the presidential regime? The AK party is undermining democracy, weakening the rule of law. How can peace be achieved without democracy?”
Incorrect contrasts. Peace is the name of the situation where there is no war, where people solve their issues without killing their children. Peace does not mean democracy. Democracy is not even the precondition for peace. Think about the civil war in Syria. Even the previous authoritarian regime is better than 70,000 people killed, 2 million refugees, a quarter million heavily injured and a ruined country.
What should be the prioritized targets? Of course, children not dying in the mountains. Ok, during the AK Party government, the rule of law is being eroded. What should we say then? That peace should be delayed?
No. Peace is the only thing that must be achieved at whatever condition. We will debate the presidential system; we will indeed explain that it is wrong. Already, the AK Party elite have not been able to convince the rest of the AK Party. The prime minister will conduct a strategy of what may be explained as “threaten with death and make them accept malaria,” and will say ‘ok’ to “a president from a political party and the authority to appoint the prime minister.” In other words, the Putin solution.
Is Putinism an obstacle to peace?
Absolutely not. Several people assume that Prime Minister Erdoğan wants to solve the Kurdish issue just for the presidential system. No. Erdoğan is taking that step because he knows that peace would be his biggest heritage. Because if the wheels of the political structure continue to turn like this, then there is no chance of the AK Party receiving 50 percent again. They are not even sure if they will get the metropolitan municipality of Istanbul.
What would you do in such a situation? You would surpass the debates with an extraordinary move that would make your statue be erected; you would want to put your signature on an indisputable achievement. Except for the foreign policy angle, this is what Erdoğan is doing. He should be supported. If he succeeds and if those steps the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) accepted are taken, if arms are silenced, then Erdoğan’s statue will be erected. And it is obligatory for every democrat to be there for the opening ceremony. Just for the sake of saving children’s lives.
Mithat Sancar has made a correct analysis. Two groups that the Republic has jostled with for years, the Islamists and the Kurds, are laying the foundations of the new Republic. Actually, with a social democrat or liberal political definition, identities reconcile. This means the launch of a new policy. There does not need to be an exemplary democracy in the end. It is definite that if the presidential system arrives, democracy will further weaken. The Kurds are also aware of this. They say they will not approve of a president who has legislative powers or the authority to abolish Parliament. Even at the cost of negatively affecting the peace process.
It is beneficial to note once again: Democracy is not the precondition for peace. Two authoritarian policies can make peace. Democracy is much more difficult than establishing peace.
The name of the BDP is the Peace and Democracy Party. These two are separate targets; they are worlds to be set up by different strategies and policies. The political representatives of Kurds know this very well. They are not, as some people say, “trading democracy for the sake of peace.”
Koray Çalışkan is a columnist for daily Radikal in which this piece was published on March 29. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.
KORAY ÇALIŞKAN - email@example.com