CAFER – Solution process at sharp turning point

Solution process at sharp turning pointStatements made by President Recep Tayyip ErdoIan, Prime Minister Ahmet DavutoIlu and other top-level government spokespeople with regard to the ongoing solution process reflect their shared and main concern with this process thus far: that Kurdistan Workersand#39 Party (PKK) violence has been brought to an end. Of course, for those who see the entire issue as being limited to this aspect, this cessation of violence may be the driving force behind the true andldquosolution.

andrdquo But to view the process this way is a problem because in this light it is no andldquopeaceandrdquo project.Is it possible to obtain results using intelligence agency tactics, when for years the use of military methods has never led anywhere? Apparently, it is not.

During the two-year period during which guns stayed silent and a de facto cease-fire was in place, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) won two different elections. It was able to carve out time to carry out business that was directly related to its own plans and agenda as such.

It was saved from having to deal with damaging news about violence-related deaths. Yes, this is what the AK Party largely gained from the solution process.

But at the same time, during this same two-year period, it is a fact that the number of youths in Turkey heading up to the mountains to join the ranks of the PKK has, in fact, not fallen in fact, the numbers have increased. And in the meantime, the PKK itself has become more influential than ever in cities in the country, building a larger-than-ever foundation based on an autonomous leadership style.

The PKK has taken aantage of the solution process to increase its own power and influence.Had the solution process really unfolded as a genuine peace process, the PKK would have stopped being so attractive to youths and the militants up in the mountains would have been interested in returning to their homes and villages as quickly as possible.

Life would have normalized. And the rhetoric of peace would have taken over politics.

In fact, enthusiasm over Turkeyand#39s most important problem finally being solved would have been palpable in every aspect of life. And this would have led to the further development of basic rights and freedoms, as well as to increased knowledge of what it means to live together in peace and unity, and what the responsibilities connected to this really are.

But none of this happened. Because all sides involved in the solution process instead sought to manipulate the process to the best of their personal political interests.

Neither side displayed trust in the other and old suspicions continued on as before. The PKK made announcements about how the government was just stringing it along and how the lack of steps taken on Ankaraand#39s part had brought the process to a de facto end.

In response to this, the government blamed the PKK for failing to understand Abdullah calan and for undermining his influence by failing to pull back from Turkish borders and lay down their weapons.After two years, this process has not been able to proceed to any aanced point.

What is different now about where the solution process stands in comparison to where it was two years ago though is this: It no longer appears possible for the process to rely on stringing the public along, wasting time or exploiting peopleand#39s expectations about peace and hope to stay alive. While neither side wishes to be the side to trigger new rounds of clashes, both sides are still preparing for the eventuality that these clashes will begin again.

The Feb. 28 joint press conference including top-level government representatives as well as Peoplesand#39 Democratic Party (HDP) members was important in revealing the point at which the process has arrived.

At this press conference, the call from calan to the PKK to andldquoabandon the armed struggleandrdquo was read out. But in the few days both sides returned to blaming each anotherThe Kurdish side maintains its insistence that it is the government that needs to take steps on the points listed in the proposal document it also insists that the controversial domestic security bill be retracted from Parliament.

As for the governmentand#39s one and only insistence? It is that the PKK disarmThe solution process is unfortunately not a peace process but rather a cease-fire process that both sides feel a need for at this time. One notable aspect of this process, though, is that it reveals with clarity that a peaceful, democratic solution is in fact possible for the Kurdish problem And in fact, Turkey has gained some important experience when it comes to the building of peace and democracy.

And so this is the critical turning point at which the process has arrived: Either we are about to start down the real path towards peace and democracy, orandhellip.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman