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The pro-Kurdish Peoplesand’ Democratic Partyand’s (HDP) performance in the Southeast in the June 7 election was a victory: It managed to monopolize pro-Kurdish politics and dealt a shocking blow to the Justice and Development Party (AK Party). However, the AK Party made a glorious comeback in the Nov. 1 election. Now, the decision-makers in pro-Kurdish politics are questioning the strategy they followed. Even if everyone is freely expressing their views about the strategy, they are concerned that the powers that be — i.e., the Kurdistan Workersand’ Party (PKK) leaders in the PKK camps located in the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq — will continue to stick to their old methods. Fears dominate the climate, but people are also hopeful about future, saying, andquotThere is no problem that cannot be solved.andquot The HDPand’s electoral support declined most steeply in the places where the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H) dug ditches and waged an urban war. Those who voted for the HDP with the expectation andquotIf the HDP gets stronger, peace will comeandquot apparently suffered from great disappointment. Even those who voted for the HDP say, andquotThe PKK cannot deal with the state [of Turkey] even if it fights for 100 years.andquot Diyarbakir Bar Association President Tahir Elandci sadly notes that the swords have been drawn and a new climate of clashes will soon appear. The day is reminiscent of the summer in Diyarbakir. Under the autumn sun, the elderly are waiting for the time for prayers in the courtyard of the Grand Mosque (Ulu Cami), whose silhouette has been changed due to the restoration scaffolding. Outside, I intermingle with the people in the never-ending vivacity of this ancient square and find myself engulfed in conversation. A nod is enough to communicate with people and those who happen to know me come closer and our conversation progresses in the company of tea. Fahri is a middle-aged resident of Diyarbakir and Cihan is a small-business owner. Residents of Diyarbakir are apparently versed in politics. They come up with original ideas you cannot hear from a professional analyst. andquotThis is because they are hurt,andquot a politician friend of mine with whom I later discussed the matter offered as an explanation. Everything is discussed and all sorts of ideas are freely voiced. All of them desperately wish that the nearing wave of violence stop.
h2 Violence hits you in the faceh2 Accompanied by the Zaman newspaperand’s Diyarbakir representative Aziz istegandun and our experienced photographer Turgut, I walk around the streets of the Hasir neighborhood. I examine the ditches that were dug and later refilled as well as many traces of bullets on the walls. I talk to the youths who are waiting at the corners of streets — apparently standing on guard. The contrast between the poverty-stricken natural life and the violence that stands out like unwanted weeds in the soil hits observers in the face.
h2AK Party has made a comeback in the region, but what will happen next?h2 The AK Party has returned to the region. The reason is the urban war that many Kurds fail to make sense of. Those who saw the HDP as an opportunity for a permanent peace were highly disappointed. Even those HDP voters say there will no major change even if the PKK fights with the Turkish government for decades and they mention the developments in the north of Syria as an explanation. Some accuse the PKK of not dispensing with its socialist obsessions and dancing to the tune of the Turkish left. They ridicule the members of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) for their typical Marxist and anti-capitalist jargon and utopian goals. They underline the meaninglessness of communes established with the andquotself-governmentandquot declared after the revolutionary peopleand’s war, saying with striking realism, andquotIf the government does not pay the salaries of public officials there for only one month, the entire commune life will collapse.andquot
h2and’Kandil wonand’t give upand’h2 The election has apparently led to big debates within the HDP. People freely express their criticisms of the socialist tradition but are concerned that the PKK leaders will continue to stick to their old methods.
The people of Diyarbakir are calmly concerned and scared. Fears dominate the climate, but locals in Diyarbakir still continue to preserve their hopes about the future.
Diyarbakir is not like the western provinces of Turkey. Its residents differ from the people living in western cities and they deserve to be taken seriously because they have been hardened due to the problems in the region. If the results of the Nov. 1 election are not assessed with an emphasis on causality, this will produce false predictions for the future.
h2 The declarations of autonomy are being questionedh2 The name andquotAmedandquot can be heard in almost every corner of the city. Before the election, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoilu had referred to the city as andquotAmedandquot but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan then stepped in, resulting in a small polemic. andhellip In 2006, I was interviewed by Ecevit Kiliandc from the Sabah newspaper and mentioned the Council of Europe (CoE)onventions. I suggested that the name of the city could be changed from Diyarbakir to Amed if its residents want it. But my suggestion was strongly criticized. This experience helped me make sense of what has changed so far. The Kurdish issue has turned into a Maoist peopleand’s war and a PKK policy. Still, there is a climate for democratic debate. I talk to HDP deputy Aziz Pir at the partyand’s provincial office about the intra-party debates and peopleand’s concerns and pessimism. Autonomy was declared in some districts in the Southeast ahead of the Nov. 1 snap election. These declarations of autonomy have been questioned, especially with respect to the disaantages it has caused within pro-Kurdish politics. Indeed, the HDP lost most of its votes in these cities.
h2No psychological basis for the urban warh2 Tahir Elandci is the head of the Diyarbakir Bar Association and a respected figure within pro-Kurdish politics. He said that the June 7 election produced a historic opportunity but the urban war, which lacked any reasonable basis, undermined this opportunity. He stresses that Kurds in southeastern provinces have the same expectations about the future as the rest of the country. I read the andquotRecommendationsandquot section from the Cizre Report that his bar association has prepared. He sadly notes that the swords have been drawn and a new climate of clashes will soon come. He asserts that those who are bringing about the conflicts will be criminalized rapidly by the public.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN

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