Ana SayfaHaberlerÇevirilerA Cyclops on Mount Kaf

A Cyclops on Mount Kaf

The Turkish original of this article was published as

Kaf Dağı’nda bir Cyclops on 8th September 2015.

In Turkish-Middle Eastern lore and legend, Mount Kaf

is a mythological mountain that marks the end of the world.

“Beyond Mount Kaf” (Kaf Dağının ardında) indicates

a place where it is impossible to go  [tr. note]. 


The whole picture became much clearer with the HDP’s decision to join the anti-AKP front in the June elections. It is not surprising that the disillusionment this caused in the government ranks should have led to a major break. The HDP had been the face that Öcalan’s determination to engage in politics presented to Turkish society. Hence it had also been the branch that the AKP was holding on to. There were some who wished and asked for the government to cling more strongly to this branch. But the tree to which the branch was connected was not reliable, and neither was it realistic to expect the branch to display the will power to disconnect from the tree. Hence, as long as the HDP had this PKK dependency, the only possibility was for the AKP to maintain a distanced relationship with the Kurdish movement and to try to build peace in step by step fashion.   


Through its choice of an election campaign, the HDP put paid to this relationship. After that point, the significance of the HDP winning many seats in parliament also changed. An electoral success that should normally have served the cause of peace became no more than a simple tool for helping implement the PKK’s strategy. Many observers are now asking why the PKK opted for its current path precisely when they had produced 80 deputies and would have been able to “bring the AKP to its knees” by appropriating the cause of peace in order to seize the moral high ground. But perhaps it is simply the case that we are face to face with a Cyclops which finds it “normal and reasonable” to abandon the cause of peace just when they have produced 80 deputies. Apart from all the other features of this one-eyed mythological giant, perhaps the answer is only that it is also “one-eyed” in a figurative sense.  


The PKK turns out to have never really reconciled itself to unarmed politics. A discourse of peace may frequently be deceptive, and may lead those who appropriate it to lose touch with reality. It is the easiest thing on earth to come up with a discourse of peace, whereas a practice of peace is extremely difficult. For it requires you to come out of your shell, to look at yourself from the outside, to be ready to build a common living space with an “other” that is not like you, and to adapt your entire sociology and inner world to this task. But while the PKK is physically on Mount Kandil, mentally it appears to be living on Mount Kaf. It is fairly easy to come fown from Mount Kandil. A few laws and regulations will suffice. To come down from Mount Kaf, however, is what is really hard. There nobody, but nobody can help you. You are all alone. In order to get back on the hard terrain of reality, you need to display a degree of thinking, determination, and courage.  


The PKK has always proved itself to be brave when it came to fighting. But equally, it has always turned out to be a coward whenever it has found itself in the teeth of reality. This is why it took measures not to put too much distance between itself and war-making. It did not hesitate to use and abuse the HDP for this purpose. It followed the dictates of its ego swollen as it was by Western support in Syria. Instead of setting its sights on the foothills of Mount Kaf where it was bound to be descending sooner or later, it preferred to stare at distant horizons in the illusion that it was the sole subject, the maker and actor of history. A romantic vision of carrying the Kurdish nation along into the next stage in “its great historical struggle” came to mix and mingle with the ambition and ruthlessness of lording it over the entire Kurdish geography. It is this ambition and ruthlessness that is currently rendering the HDP hopeless and meaningless, and is causing the Kurdish movement to keep jerking spasmodically like a headless chicken.     


The Solution Process did not cause the PKK to change its path. It is the same PKK as ever. But neither can we say that nothing has changed, for it is impossible to reverse what has actually been lived and experienced, and the mental widening of horizons that has resulted therefrom. Henceforth things are going to be much more difficult for Cyclops. Not because its war-making capacity has declined. But because unless it is able to increase its peace-making capacity it is going to be dragging the HDP, too, into an increasingly pathetic situation, and because it is unable to comprehend this fundamental reality. 


A solution and a resulting peace may not require the PKK to descend from Kandil. But without descending from Mount Kaf, it cannot possible do anything good for the Kurds.



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