Monday, August 31, 2009


"[T]o solve the Kurdish question, Öcalan must be contacted, must be talked with. There is no one in Turkey, with the exception of him [Öcalan] to solve this problem. There is no one with the exception of him that can contribute as much as him to solve this problem."
~ Avni Özgürel.

If you stayed up until almost 0300 hours Pacific Daylight Time to listen to the comments of Turkish Interior Minister Beşir Atalay's news conference on the Kurdish "initiative", you were probably as angry as I was. Or as Ahmet Türk was, from Hürriyet:

DTP leader Türk, accompanied by DTP deputies Selahattin Demirtaş, Osman Özçelik, Hasip Kaplan, Gültan Kışanak, Akın Birdal, İbrahim Binici, Nezir Karabaş and Nuri Yaman, watched the minister’s remarks on TV carefully, with often taking notes. Türk was reluctant to comment on Atalay”s words, citing the rally on Tuesday organized by his party in Diyarbakır.

“The minister did not announce any solid plans, and we will tell the public our thoughts at [Tuesday’s] rally,” Türk told reporters, but he was hopeful about the current situation.

“The people expect the Kurdish issue to be solved in a peaceful, democratic way,” he said. “As politicians, we must carry hope. We must lead the people; it is our duty to do so.”

[ . . . ]

Later in the day, DTP leader and deputies joined hundreds of party members in Diyarbakır”s Sümer Park, who were to spend the night at the park for the “Sept. 1 Peace Watch.”

Having spent some time to think over the minister’s remarks, and buoyed by the support at the park, the DTP leader was much harsher.

The remarks of the minister have created surprise and despair,” Türk told his audience. “The remarks did not include the democratic initiative and completely ignored the Kurds.”

According to Türk, the government did not take the opinions of the NGOs and Kurds into account, but instead “valued the opinions of those it could not even meet.”

Everybody should know that this is not the way to solve the Kurdish issue,” he said.

One of the Kurdish demands mentioned specifically was a rewriting of the Turkish constitution, something which Atalay said is "not currently on the table". This is a point on which the DTP has insisted. Neither has there been any indication that Öcalan's perspective for a political solution have been included in this Kurdish "initiative".

Last week, Öcalan conveyed his long-awaited road map to the Ankara regime through prison officials. Over the weekend, not a word was spoken or written about the contents of Öcalan's road map. Perhaps that's because the Ankara regime nixed the road map even before it had been given to the regime.

During Atalay's press conference, not a word was mentioned about the contents of Öcalan's statement. Another Hürriyet article referenced "abundant common points" and declared the government initiative a huge success:

After meeting with political leaders, NGOs and vocational groups, Interior Minister Atalay says the government’s “Kurdish move” is a success. ‘The common points we heard were abundant, which shows that we have reached our goal. Everybody wants to put a stop to the terror. Everybody wants better democratic standards. No one is against these points," Atalay says.

The government’s Kurdish move has proved to be a success with clear public support and a will for a resolution to the country’s terror problem, Interior Minister Beşir Atalay said Monday. Atalay also called on the opposition to get passed their fear that the move might divide the country.

Well, perhaps some day, Sayın Atalay will be so kind as to let the Kurdish people know exactly what those abundant "common points" are now that the regime has achieved an incomparably stunning success in solving the Kurdish question.

Meanwhile, Ahmet Türk and the rest of DTP, and I are not the only ones awaiting the details of the stunning success of AKP's Kurdish "initiative"; Avni Özgürel, featured last October on Rastî, is also waiting:

What do you think is not going to happen according to the messages coming from the top level?

We understand from these messages that the official language of Turkey, which is Turkish, cannot be changed, and the unitary structure of Turkey cannot be changed. The opposition's reactions have mellowed since these points have been clearly voiced. But we still do not know the content of the project which will be prepared by the end of the year, as the prime minister said.

What do you think it will consist of?

It will probably consist of granting cultural rights -- like establishing Kurdology departments at universities, expanding opportunities for Kurdish broadcasting, providing Kurdish translations at courts and official places if there is a need -- also demanded by international agreements approved by Turkey. There is also another issue, which is addressing the terrorism dimension of the problem.

Özgürel knows that cultural rights are not enough, but a discussion of establishing Kurdology departments or increasing Kurdish broadcasts a la TRT 6 are already failed attempts and, after the results of the 29 March elections, have been rejected by the Kurdish people.

But here's a talking point from Özgürel that ought to be all over the Turkish media:

What do you see when you look at the issue from Turkey's point of view? Why is Turkey at the end of the road to solve the Kurdish problem?

Turkey has seen that terrorism will never end. Several chiefs of general staff said several times that the terrorism problem in Turkey was finished. However, it never ended, and it does not seem likely to end. Each dead person is a loss for Turkey even if they are from the PKK. They are citizens of Turkey. And they are people who should normally be carrying the hopes for their future on Turkey.

It's too bad no one in the AKP has half the brains of this guy.

We shall see what DTP's official response is tomorrow, at the Peace Day rally in Amed, at which one million Kurds are expected to gather. Hürriyet seems to believe that this is going to be a rally by the Kurdish people to thank the regime. But, given Ahmet Türk's reaction--and I completely empathize with him because the Atalay press conference was so . . . lame--I think there's going to be a lot more said tomorrow than a nice, meek "Thank you".

Expect a statement from HPG tomorrow, too, since it will be the expiration date of the current ceasefire.


hamo said...

What a pitty that some of the parties such as MHP and CHP still think they could finish the Kurdish issue through blood-shed and violance instead of negotiations and peace proccess. As Kurdish Leader said in his last meeting with his lawyers "first of all Kurds should respect Turkey and Turks should respect Kurdistan. Peace can only be achived when both nations accept and respect each other and this start with respecting each other's land"

Anonymous said...

Dear Hamo, everyone seems to miss the point. This is not about MHP and CHP resisting Kurds or hating them (check here for some old history on CHP: The problem is the state and everything associated with it.

Think about it, it's like being in the police station and going through the game of good cop (AKP and whoever else) and bad cop (MHP, CHP, TSK, ...). MHP and other dogs in the herd know very well they can't finish off Kurds. They live off the conflict.

How do you deal with good cop bad cop game? You don't fall for the trap, keep quiet (translates into don't give out too much info about your abilities and everything else), and finally, you play tit for tat. You shouldn't be worried about having a bruise on your face as you are not the one who has a date after the interrogation, so to speak.