KRG and Peace Process in Turkey
The Kurdish leadership in South (Kurdistan Region) has had a crucial role in the recent peace talks between PKK-Ocalan-Turkey. First initiated by Jalal Talabani, the process was further developed by Prime Minister. PM Nechirvan Barzani is the person that encouraged Turkish Authorities – especially Prime Minister Erdogan – to start direct negotiations with Ocalan in prison. Turkey had long avoided accepting Ocalan as counter-part in negotiations; Turkish sensitivities against the “baby-killer”, as some Turkish politicians and media depict Ocalan, and the Turkish arrogance prevented them to take such an initiative. Barzani’s rational suggestion made this process possible. However, some Kurdish nationalists, who are not associated with PKK, raise some doubts about the process. Ocalan has not put forward any clear demands regarding the Kurdish national rights. On the contrary, he emphasized an alleged union between Kurds and Turkey that few Kurds feel comfortable with. The rationale for this unity, as he has stated, is one based on thousands of years between the two nations as a “Muslim brotherhood”. Despite of Ocalan’s unpleasant discourse, the PKK bent after Ocalan’s will and declared cease fire and announced that it will withdraw its forces from Turkey beginning at May 8th 2013. The BDP demand on “Democratic Autonomy” was dismissed by Ocalan as mere a subject of discussion not an objective for the Kurdish movement in Turkey.
One could wonder why Prime Minister Barzani encouraged Turkey to negotiate with an imprisoned person, whose will is in the hands of his antagonist. Everybody can imagine that Turkey can dictate its will on Ocalan. Hence, simplistically thought, Prime Minister Barzani did not act in the interest of Northern Kurds. To achieve their freedom, they have to gain power, to gain power the notion of sovereignty in Turkey must be decentralized, so that the Kurds have their share of sovereignty. To achieve sovereignty the Kurds in Turkey are entitled to have a minimum of autonomy. Exactly like Iraqi Kurds, they need to be part of sovereignty; having their own regional government, own parliament and own administration.
What Ocalan offers is just an end to the PKK revolt and what Turkey admits is amnesty and limited reforms in constitution. The most Kurds in Turkey can achieve through this is to be recognized as a folkloristic reality. Hence, Prime Minister must have thought about these issues. However, the Kurdish nationalists forget one thing; Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani cannot demand anything for Turkey Kurds more than what they themselves demand! An overwhelming number of Turkey’s Kurds demand is actually peace and nor- malization so that they can have decent life in Kurdish areas similar to the Western Turkey. They want to be respected as Kurds. This is in line with what Turkey offers; a folkloristic reality. In the Kurdish townships and cities, everywhere one can hear Kurdish music, but very seldom Kurdish conversations! Kurdishness for Turkey Kurds is folklore, not language and self-rule. They are prone to heteronomy and accept the Turkish supremacy as it is. Those who wish autonomy, federation or independent are heavily marginalized.
Kurdistan Regional Gov- ernment has wisely chosen a rational approach towards Turkey and its Kurdish minority. It is rightly consolidating its position by improving its ties with Turkey and help Kurds in Turkey to achieve what they demand and deserve; being a folkloristic reality.
A Kurdish woman attends a gathering to welcome a group of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas expected to surrender to Turkish military forces, in the southeastern Turkish town of Silopi, near the Iraqi border, Oct. 19, 2009.