KRG and Peace Process in Turkey

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE - By Behrooz Sho­jai

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.

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