Zana’s message: ‘I am no different than you’

Zana’s message: ‘I am no different than you’

Leyla Zana, and independent deputy from the southeastern city of Diyarbakır, in a press conference she held at Parliament Sunday, briefed the media on the meeting she had with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Zana explained first and foremost that she had mentioned to Erdoğan the rights that stem from the fact that the Kurds are a (separate) people. Zana said the security-based politics Turkey has tried to employ for decades has not yielded any results, and the only way that has not been tried is sustainable talks.

In a statement, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş said the BDP is ready to contribute to any kind of solution process, adding, “For a long time, the ball has been in the court of the prime minister. His discourse, his practice, and the policy he demonstrates will determine the future of the process, whether it will fail or succeed.”

The Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria, which acts in parallel with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), issued a statement saying there was a defamation campaign against them in the press. It claimed the campaign was trying to obstruct the group’s pioneering role, and their peaceful struggle aimed at building a democratic society in place of the Syrian regime.

According to Fırat News Agency, the statement denied claims that PYD was cooperating with the Syrian Baath regime, and, within this framework, protecting the Turkish-Syrian border. The statement said, “Once more, we state that there have not been any talks between our party and the regime on protecting the Syrian-Turkish border. Just as we were never supportive of this regime from the beginning, also from now on, we will not be supportive of them.”

One of PKK’s managers, Duran Kalkan, said: “No doubt, the process we are undergoing now is a solution process. However, it is not a political process as it was in the past; it is a military process. We made a strategic change two years ago. We have reached the conclusion that as long as the AKP [the ruling Justice and Development Party] government continues, there will not be a political solution.”

Kalkan also said, “In other words, nothing should be expected of the AKP anymore. Those who say that the AKP will solve the Kurdish problem and that Tayyip Erdoğan is still a leader capable of solving the issue are disregarding [the past]; they are crossing out at one stroke the past 10 years.”

What do developments point to?

The statement from the Democratic Union Party (PYD) has features of a response to speculations that have existed in the media for a long time. It points out that a window of opportunity has been created, because of the period of turmoil in Syria, for the organization to build a democratic autonomy.

The strength of the reaction to Zana’s proclamation from the BDP/DTK/PKK axis has gradually increased, and the last meeting was specified as “anti-democratic and illegal.” Zana, on the other hand, who has made it known that she intends to conduct this process in an extremely controlled and transparent manner, has conveyed demands to Erdoğan that are almost exactly the same as those of the BDP/DTK/PKK axis.

By doing this, while Zana sent a message to Kandil saying, “I am no different than you in essence; I’m trying to open the blocked process,” she has also disappointed Ankara – limited to the statement she has made -- and tried to say, “Don’t get my initiative wrong.”

Kalkan’s general discourse demonstrates the intention of creating such severe military pressure that it would force Ankara to a political solution. This is also indicates that in the coming period there will be a full power struggle. The reactions to Zana stem from this. The organization, which seems to be ready to go, finds these kinds of initiatives risky from the viewpoint of its strategic line.

Cevdet Aşkın is the news editor of daily Radikal. This abridged article originally appeared on July 1 on the paper’s website.