Kurdish problem at the crossroads

Murat Yetkin
Murat Yetkin
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The majority of Turkish people would not want this, but if the “peace process” fails, in the eyes of the Turkish state apparatus, the whole PKK organization in Europe is now officially…exposed and transparent

Murat Yetkin
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It seems that the second byproduct – I will explain what the first one was later in the article – of the Paris murders on Jan. 9, 2013 was an acceleration of the dialogue between the Turkish government and the imprisoned leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan. For the first time, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan has labeled the talks a “peace process,” during an address to his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) group in Parliament on Jan. 15.

This is certainly a shift in terminology and perhaps a sign that Turkey is inching towards the crossroads for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish problem. So far, the government and also AK Parti officials have said that the aim of the “dialogue” had been to convince the PKK to lay down their arms. The timing is important, too. Besides being in the mysterious aftermath of the Paris murders, where three active female members of the PKK’s Europe branch, one of them Sakine Cansız, one of the founders of the PKK back in 1978, it is before the funeral ceremony for the three expected to be held on Jan. 17 in Turkey’s dominantly Kurdish-populated southeastern city of Diyarbakır. The Kurdish problem-focused Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) has called for the funeral to turn into a mass demonstration while Prime Minister Erdoğan and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu have warned against “provocative acts to abuse the funeral.” Perhaps Erdoğan wanted to send a message of peace to whom it may concern that if the funerals are handled properly, it would further help the process. This would indeed be a turning point for the good.

Now, about the first outcome, or byproduct, of the Paris murders: The majority of Turkish people would not want this, but if the “peace process” fails, in the eyes of the Turkish state apparatus, the whole PKK organization in Europe is now officially – and after French President François Hollande’s admittance on record – exposed and transparent. “We already knew who was talking to who, but now it is all over the media and on the record, so no one can hide anything anymore,” one anonymous security official told Hürriyet Daily News, “But now let’s hope that there would be no need for all that and the process will be a successful one.”

*This article was published in the Hurriyet Daily News on Jan. 16, 2013. Link: https://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/kurdish-problem-at-the-crossroads.aspx?pageID=449&nID=39153&NewsCatID=409

(Murat Yetkin is the current editor-in-chief of Hurriyet Daily News and a columnist for Radikal, a Turkish publication. He is a political commentator on Turkish and Middle Eastern affairs and has previously worked for BBC World Service and AFP. He can be found on Twitter: @MuratYetkin2.)

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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