Unrest within the AKP

The jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah calan, sent a message that was read out during the Nevruz celebrations in DiyarbakIr In his letter, he renewed calls for the PKK to lay down its weapons, but there were many other important details in it as well. First, he emphasized that the PKK’s three-decade armed campaign was not in vain.

This was an answer to those within the PKK who have asked why they are putting an end to the mi

The jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workersand#39 Party (PKK), Abdullah andOumlcalan, sent a message that was read out during the Nevruz celebrations in DiyarbakIr In his letter, he renewed calls for the PKK to lay down its weapons, but there were many other important details in it as well.

First, he emphasized that the PKKand#39s three-decade armed campaign was not in vain.

This was an answer to those within the PKK who have asked why they are putting an end to the military struggle now, or who question for what many have died. He stressed that the struggle will continue, although with different methods, as he recalled the movementand#39s leftist ideological roots.

This was perhaps an attempt to say that, in addition to its ethnic identity, the organization also has an international vision.

In his letter, andOumlcalan did not call on his followers to attack the government.

Instead, he reminded them that it is in everybodyand#39s interests to cooperate. He mentioned the battle of Kobani and the Sanduumlleyman Iah tomb operation as examples of cooperation between Kurds and Turks, and pointed to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as the common enemy.

This approach will probably be debated among the Kurds, as some of them believe that having good relations with the government is the only way to resolve the Kurdish issue while many others are convinced that the very same government is the number one obstacle in the settlement process. In order to allow this debate to take place, andOumlcalan has called for a PKK congress to determine the movementand#39s new strategy.

A congress means that divergent groups within the Kurdish movement will have to find a compromise. This may stop rumors that relations between andOumlcalan and Murat KarayIlan — the PKKand#39s acting leader in northern Iraqand#39s Kandil Mountains — are souring.

If the congress does decide to put an end to the armed struggle, following andOumlcalanand#39s wishes, that will confirm his leadership role once again.

It is important for Ankara that andOumlcalan maintains control of the PKK and wields influence on the Kurds in different countries in the region, as he is the governmentand#39s main interlocutor in the process.

He will continue to be respected among his people as long as he seems to have real influence on the course of the settlement process. His leadership role may make it easier to control and guide the members of the PKKand#39s armed branch all over the region, but it may, at the same time, put the government in a delicate position.

If the public gets the impression that andOumlcalan is the one determining the evolution of the process, then the government will be accused of inaction. The governing party, however, has no intention of losing the votes of nationalist segments in the run-up to the June 7 general election.

So it wouldnand#39t want to be perceived as following andOumlcalanand#39s decisions.

In southeast Turkey, especially, the governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the pro-Kurdish Peoplesand#39 Democratic Party (HDP) are trying to appeal to the very same voters.

The rise in the HDPand#39s votes will automatically mean a drop in AK Party votes. For the governing party, the only way to preserve the votes of both Turkish nationalists and the Kurds will be to find a way to get more public support for the settlement process.

The HDP is an ordinary political party, so it naturally wants to get more votes and send more deputies to Parliament. Thatand#39s why the partyand#39s leader, Selahattin DemirtaI, uses harsh words against the government nowadays, while andOumlcalan has adopted a more conciliatory tone.

This is a andquotood cop, bad copandquot thing. Similarly, the president and the government have adopted a good cop, bad cop position as well.

Nevertheless, we canand#39t know for sure if these positions are just a calculated image, as they may very well reflect genuine divisions in these parties, too.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman