Ana SayfaHaberlerÇevirilerFirst the PKK has to silence its guns

First the PKK has to silence its guns

Oral Çalışlar


The Turkish original of this article was published as Önce PKK silahları susturmalı on 8th September 2015.


When it is guns that are doing the talking, and lives are being snuffed out, it becomes difficult to keep talking to promote a reasonable peace. An angry, indignant, given-to-accusing kind of atmosphere that is far removed from a peaceful solution tends to submerge everything.


Ever since the Dağlıca attack hit the headlines, opposing sides have been constantly escalating hostility and raising the bar. Twisting one’s words, insults, threats are taking over. As Halil Berktay has noted on, we are faced with a widespread “hooliganization process.”


In a country like Turkey that has achieved a certain degree of democratization, and with a functioning (despite everything) kind of multi-party parliamentary régime, neither this violence nor such blind polarization can keep going like this. As Turkish society has demonstrated a capacity for returning to mormalcy even when it is really up against it, I keep believing that its security fuses will start functioning at some point. Sooner or later society will regroup and reach a new equilibrium.  


As things stand, it is impossible, of course, to foresee just how this might be realized, and after passing through which critical junctions. But it is certainly possible.


The solution process


I have wholeheartedly supported the Solution Process all along. I was part of the so-called Group of Wise Men. Together with the rest of that team, I toured Anatolia and spent every effort to ensure there success of the process. We had entered a phase when the problem had become capable of being laid on the table. All the talk was about the PKK laying down the arms that it had been directing at Turkey. There was hope in the air.


We were also aware of the difficulties. Internally, there was an opposition that was somehow utterly unable to reconcile itself to the process. Furthermore, regional equilibria were also bound to change if Turkey were to resolve its Kurdish question. The possibility that by recognizing Kurdish identity Turkey might go on to create a new synergy together with the Kurds was not to the liking of some countries with other designs on the region.   


We were highly conscious of this fragile side to the process.


What we feared came to pass. Hostilities were resumed. An atmosphere of violence, including funeral processions for the fallen, has once more become a part of our daily lives.


A time of madness 


Very soon we will be going through yet another election. Between the government and the opposition, the question of war and peace has also become the stuff of a major rivalry. Electoral competition is pushing political parties to turn selfish. Instead of a solution, it is on profit-and-loss calculations that they are tending to focus. Such instability is further exacerbated by Middle Eastern complexities. It is no longer possible to speak of a meaningful debate or discussion. Manipulation, polemics and ad hominem attacks are carrying the day. The media, too, have arrived at an abnormal point. All are trying to “exterminate” their rivals and opponents.     


In such periods persisting in looking for reasonable solutions does not attract much interest; on the contrary, it is likely to elicit harsh reactions. In a polarized country surrounded by a chaotic region, everything you say can be rendered meaningless. But at the same time, all such tense and polarized environments also carry within themselves the possibility of new departures. No war or any other kind of conflict can go on forever.

The PKK has to silence its guns immediately 


Turning to look at the PKK’s statements, what strikes the eye is their defensive claims that “it was Erdoğan who started the conflict” while they themselves “have only been responding to the attacks.”


This line about “only responding to attacks” is very far from being convincing. But suppose for a moment that it is correct. Let us assume that it was the state security forces that started it all. Even so, these are the questions that require answers: How long is the PKK going to persist with these attacks? What is it trying to achieve in this way?


The people in the region are in a state of great fear, panic, and anxiety. Daily life and the economy are at a standstill. Of those who fear for their lives and livelihoods, those who are able to do so are abandoning their towns or cities. And of course, to the west, too, the economy is going through a difficult period.  


The HDP, once one of the “actors of the solution,” is becoming dysfunctional with every passing day. The scope of legal and legitimate politics keeps growing narrower and narrower. It is worth noting that the HDP has recently taken to calling for “the PKK to declare a unilateral ceasefire.”


It is unclear how far this escalation of attacks and ambushes can go, and how many more lives it can claim. It has to stop. The PKK must silence its guns immediately. If it does so, an atmosphere suitable to talks may be revived. It may be possible to return to the negotiation table.   

It has become very clear that that a conflict of thirty years cannot be brought to an end at one stroke. Many are the lessons that have been learned since 2013 in the solution process. A significant part of the Kurds have come to believe more strongly in working jointly for a solution. Over time, in western Turkey, too, major sociological changes have taken place. Nevertheless, we are still at the beginning of the road.  


The present escalation is throwing all possibility of working together for a solution, too, into the fire. How far can the Kurds tolerate what is happening? How positively can they regard actions that are targeting Turkey, targeting unity and coexistence, surrounded as we are by the Middle Eastern geography around us?


We have to keep pursuing the solution process.


Despite the madness around us.


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