Im­rali meet­ings and a prospec­tive peace

Asym­met­ric parts in an ob­scure process

The Kurdish Globe - - EDITORIAL - By Behrooz Sho­jai

er­ally Kurds) by giv­ing per­sonal priv­i­leges and dis­solv­ing the bri­g­andage. The im­pris­oned leader of PKK, is said, to get house­like fa­cil­ity on the Im­rali Prison Is­land, in which he will also be ac­knowl­edge the right of hav­ing his mate. The guerilla sol­diers will leave the Turk­ish soil, put down the weapon and even­tu­ally those who have not been in­volved in clashes will be granted amnesty and those in the top of the or­ga­ni­za­tion will be set­tled some­where in Far­far­away­land. It is the most com­mon Turk­ish way of deal­ing any con­flict in­ter­nally and ex­ter­nally. I have not seen any ex­am­ple in the his­tory in which the Turks have showed any em­pa­thy for their an­tag­o­nists. The Turk­ish present government, like its former equals, makes very few – if any – con­ces­sions to the Kurds. Let­ting the Kurds speak their lan­guage and start­ing Kur­dish broad­cast­ing is not a con­ces­sion, but rather a char­ity from the government be­stowed upon the mis­er­able Kur­dish sub­jects. Now they have to be up­lifted from their mis­ery by gen­eros­ity of the great Turk­ish state. This “great state” of Turkey is quite in­ter­est­ing in the mind of the Turks. I googled “Turkey is a great state in Turk­ish” (Türkiye büyük bir de­vlet­tir)” or “Turk­ish Repub­lic is a great state” (Türkiye Cumhuriyeti büyük bir de­vlet­tir) and com­pared the re­sults with French and Ger­man con­cern­ing their re­spec­tive state. I also used quo­ta­tion marks to get a re­sult of the ex­act state­ment. The re­sults were strik­ing; the fre­quency of the above men­tioned state­ments were far more than any other lan­guage/ coun­try. The quo­ta­tions are mostly used by the gov­ern­men­tal of­fi­cials, while in West Euro­pean coun­tries they of­ten em­pha­size the demo­cratic fea­ture of the coun­try, for in­stance Deutch­land ist eine Demokratie (Ger­many is a democ­racy). This “büyük” (great/big) is fre­quently oc­cur­ring self­per­cep­tion among Turks. A na­tional nar­ra­tive based on a pseudo-his­toric con­cept claim­ing the Turks be­ing the su­pe­rior na­tion (Ne mutlu türküm diyene = happy is the one who says “I am a Turk”) is gen­er­ally as­so­ci­ated with xeno­pho­bia (Türkün Türk­ten başka dostu yok­tur = The Turk has no other friends ex­cept the Turks), self-adu­la­tion (Türküm, doğruyum, çalışkanım, … = I am a Turk, I am right­eous, I am dili­gent …), na­tional me­ga­lo­ma­nia (ulu devlet = sub­lime state/port, büyük devlet = great state, ulu mil­let = great na­tion) and a be­lief in Turkey’s spe­cial mis­sion (Ot­toman im­pe­ri­al­ism). I can hardly imag­ine that by this self­per­cep­tion the Turk­ish au­thor­i­ties can sin­cerely of­fer any vi­able so­lu­tion to the Kur­dish ques­tion in Turkey. As a mat­ter of fact the newly earned self-con­fi­dence through eco­nomic boom and cul­tural im­pe­ri­al­ism in Mid­dle East the na­tional me­ga­lo­ma­nia will reach new lev­els. The el­e­va­tion should be as­cribed to the charis­matic AK party leader Er­do­gan, who, one would ex­pect, should ex­press hum­ble­ness and em­pa­thy. Sound­ing pes­simistic, I rather per­ceive that Prime Min­is­ter has el­e­vated him­self to the Sul­tan of the Sub­lime Porte. I have no­ticed the cen­tral­ity of his per­son­al­ity in his speeches when ad­dress­ing the high of­fi­cials: he fre­quently puts pos­ses­sive pro­noun in front of all of­fi­cials: “benim dışiş­leri bakanım (my Min­is­ter of For­eign af­fairs)”, “benim genelkur­may başkanım (my Chief of Staff)”, “benim içiş­leri bakanım (my Min­is­ter of In­te­rior Af­fairs) etc. Of course, one may per­ceive this des­ig­na­tion as some kind of folksy and ver­nac­u­lar, but even then the pop­u­lar dis­course in­di­cates that he con­sid­ers him­self mighty enough to pop­u­lar­ize the ep­i­thets.

Ex­pect­ing a fair treat­ment in a so called peace process from such coun­ter­party is naïve, if not fool­hardy. Re­cent weeks’ Turk­ish prac­tice has proved that the process is on the terms of the Turks; Prime Min­is­ter Er­doğan ve­toed against the proPKK BDP’s (Peace and Democ­racy Party) wish to send cer­tain func­tionar­ies to Im­rali to meet the im­pris­oned leader Öcalan. It is puz­zling that in a bi­lat­eral ne­go­ti­a­tion process one party de­cides who should sit at the ta­ble! Can it really be a ne­go­ti­a­tion? This and that will come to the ne­go­ti­a­tion but not those; oth­er­wise there will be no ne­go­ti­a­tion. I have heard about other terms in nega­tions, but not the con­stel­la­tion of ne­go­tia­tors! AK party gov­ern­men­tal of­fi­cials are lit­er­ally chastis­ing BDP in a way that is suit­able for the pol­icy of AK party it­self. Of course AK party has a tri­umph card; the most in­flu­en­tial one: Ab­dul­lah Öcalan is in AK party’s power and nowa­days AK party means both the government and the state in Turkey.

The “ne­go­ti­a­tions” is ac­com­pa­nied with amend­ments in the con­sti­tu­tion of Turkey. An­other proof that AK party is lit­er­ally us­ing BDP as a sup­port party is the work with the con­sti­tu­tion. To­gether with BDP there will be an ab­so­lute ma­jor­ity to adapt new leg­is­la­tions. Of the re­cent speech by the chair­man of BDP, Demir­taş, one can un­der­stand how closely the two par­ties are work­ing to­gether. Demir­taş says that: “Turkey need to en­ter a new sys­tem. All cul­tures should be pro­tected within the unity of Turkey and en­shrined in the spirit of the prin­ci­pals of the con­sti­tu­tion. [In this sense] the clos­est [party] to us is AK party. [Our stand­points] do not over­lap ex­actly, but the party that we stand clos­est to is AK party.”

His­tory is re­peat­ing it­self for north­ern Kurds. Sev­eral cen­turies ago a Kur­dish prince, Idris Bitlisi put the Kurds un­der the com­mand of the Ot­toman Em­pire. Now the PKK leader is chastis­ing the Kurds un­der the Turk­ish com­mand. Öcalan is in­deed the new Idris Bitlisi. But will the Kurds be sat­is­fied with this ar­range­ment in the long term?

Co-chair­man of BDP Se­la­het­tin Demir­tas ad­dresses a crown about the Im­rali meet­ings with the de­tained PKK leader Ab­dulla Ocalan.

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