ORHAN KEMAL – AKP’s shortsighted approach to Kurdish question

AKP’s shortsighted approach to Kurdish questionWe have a fundamental problem in making progress in the Kurdish question. The Justice and Development Party (AKP), in spite of all its shortcomings, is still the only political structure that can take some steps to solve the Kurdish question.

The two other major political parties are well behind the AKP.The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is still extremely nationalistic and does not offer anything but a war with the Kurdistan Workersand#39 Party (PKK).

The Republican Peopleand#39s Party (CHP) and its leader, Kemal KIlIdaroIlu, despite showing some positive attitudes recently, lack any comprehensive plan or vision about the Kurdish question and easily slip into well-known clichandeacutes when occasions arise.For example, KIlIdaroIlu supports a limited military operation in Kobani, which is a sign that they have started thinking about the Kurdish question, but when Prime Minister Ahmet DavutoIlu gathered a wise people commission to discuss the peace process, the CHP spokespeople started criticizing the AKP over its plan to better the conditiond of the imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah calan.

Obviously, we still do not have a political entity in mainstream politics that can pressure the AKP to take more positive steps and speed up the whole process. So, if we put aside the Kurdish Peoplesand#39 Democratic Party (HDP), the AKP appears to be the only entity that seems to have the desire and will to make a change in this deep-rooted problem However, neither this desire nor its will are strong enough to give satisfactory answers to todayand#39s extremely complex problems.

We also do not see any serious paradigm shift on the part of Recep Tayyip ErdoIan in dealing with the Kurdish question. ErdoIan still sees this issue as being key in his presidency — he will give Kurds autonomy and the Kurds will secure his presidency in return.

There are other problematic aspects in dealing with the Kurdish question. The government does not have a rights-based approach but unfortunately continues to give certain rights as a result of the PKKand#39s pressure, which feeds a vicious circle.

For example, Kurds opened schools that provide education in Kurdish but the government closed them down, arguing that they did not meet certain criteria The PKK then started its violent activities, burning down state schools and so on. After a while the government decided to allow the Kurdish schools to open.

In this way, it gives Kurds and the PKK the impression that they can only gain certain rights by force.Secondly, the AKP does not adopt the peace process into swiftly changing circumstances.

ErdoIan and his friends seem to be very much confused about Kurdish autonomy in Rojava On the one hand they are engaging in the peace process with the PKK but on the other they appear to be fighting against the rule of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria by arguing that the PYD is just an extension of the PKK.As they do in Turkey, they take positive steps, like opening a corridor for the peshmerga after being pressured by the US, but these positive steps do not have much of a positive impact on either the Kurds in Turkey or in the region.

We are unable to see any clear policy towards Syrian Kurds from this government but instead see changing discourses and politics, apparently as a result of some ambivalent desires.Apparently, the onslaught on Kobani by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) first awakened the old desires to crush the autonomy in Rojava, but realities on the ground pushed the government to change its attitude on this matterChanging circumstances make possible solutions extremely complex.

For example, under these specific circumstances, the disarmament of the PKK, which is fighting against ISIL in Syria and Iraq, seems neither realistic nor possible. Therefore, Turkey should develop a much more sophisticated and layered approach to the disarmament of the PPK, maybe by distinguishing its militantsand#39 situation in Turkey from Syria and Iraq.

However, the AKPand#39s vision, which is very much focused on electoral victories, remains very shortsighted in the face of tremendous changes in the terrain on which the Kurdish question has been shaping and gaining new dimensions.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman

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