Have you ever heard a story so good, it couldn’t possibly be true? Perhaps it was a story about a fish so big, it flipped over the boat. Or perhaps it was a story about a woman so beautiful, the clocks stopped as she walked by. Of course these stories are entertaining, so much so in fact, I’d like to tell you one of my own. Imagine a story about the PKK militants, who after 30 years of inflicting the worst kinds of suffering on the people of Turkey, taking 60,000 innocent lives, are turning in their weapons and walking away and everyone was now going to live happily ever after. This IS for a nice story of course, but would you really believe me? The greatest part about the tale I just related to you is, it might in fact, actually be true.
Just as the removal of a tourniquet increases the blood flow to a wounded area, the peaceable exodus of armed rebels is opening the doors to aid and benefits from the Turkish nation to this area of our country.Ceylan Ozbudak
Of course, I’m a bit skeptical myself at this moment, since so much appears to be undecided, but you have to understand that I am not the only one who can’t believe her eyes. The solution process initiated by the AKP has led to long debates within Turkey, but this is the first time for years that a decision to cease hostilities has been scrupulously adhered to, and acts of terror have literally been stopped in their tracks. Here in Turkey, we have not just heard the story about the fish that got away---We have been left many times holding the pole.
Please don’t misunderstand; I want the peace agreement to hold. We all sincerely hope this deal will bring about a new era of peace and prosperity for Turkey. However, there are, a number of reasons why this settlement seems more like a fairy tale than an answer to our prayers at the moment.
What are the benefits of AK Party’s Peace Process?
The benefits have been immediate: Just as the removal of a tourniquet increases the blood flow to a wounded area, the peaceable exodus of armed rebels is opening the doors to aid and benefits from the Turkish nation to this area of our country. For the first time in a generation, government officials and opinion makers have been able to visit the southeast of Turkey and administer aid without mortal danger to their own lives. The upshot of improved communications is an improvement in mutual understanding.
What Are the Threats to this Peace Process?
According to Ocalan, the PKK has abandoned any aspiration of a separate state for ethnic Kurds in favor of a unified Turkish nation based on equality regardless of ethnicity “under the flag of Islam.”. There has already been a state approved television station in the Kurdish region, for a long time and Kurds have held important positions in Turkish government and society for centuries. The coming months will probably amend the Constitution to recognize the absolute equality of Kurds to Turks. But there is still a mentality that demands an autonomous Kurdish entity within the Turkish state, and status rights for a PKK dedicated to those ends, by political means. Under Turkish law and according to the ECHR, both the PKK and KCK are terror organizations. Granting concessions to terror organizations and organized crime would be a violation of universal human rights and a blow to democracy. Another dangerous prospect for both Turkey and the entire region are those voices that seek to justify the establishment of a federative system in Southeast Turkey without a profound examination of events.
Besides, a PKK bent on achieving a Marxist political agenda by democratic means would not be beneficial development for the Kurds at any rate. Before Ocalan’s Nawroz speech calling for “unity under the flag of Islam”, the PKK’s aim has been to bring in a communist order along the lines of the savage Ba’ath regimes, which dominated Iraq under Saddam Hussein and Syria under the Assads. In any Leninist regime, the judicial and security mechanism would be administered by party apparatchiks, and advancement within the party would be based on partisan machinations, much like the Leninism, which oppressed and starved the people of Russia for most of the 20th century. Does anyone else remember the Gulags? How about that beacon of economic opportunity, North Korea? Where one million from the population of 25 million are active members of the military, where 11 million more are ready to be called up at any time for war against nonexistent bogeymen, where the leaders test nuclear weapons every spring for sport? Communism had a full century to deliver on its promises, and instead, this has been the result, everywhere it has been tried. An autonomous Kurdistan on the Turkish peninsula would be a platform for communism. Autonomy will serve as a conflict enhancer by providing an institutional basis for groups that desire separation.
And here at this point, we approach to the skeptical moment in the fairytale, which forces us to think that this withdrawal is not the final stage of the PKK armed struggle and think of the root ideology, which gave birth to PKK.
The PKK is a communist, Leninist and Stalinist terror organization. For years it has been supported by communist countries and communist groups in various countries. Ocalan explicitly stated the Leninist nature of the PKK and the communist line it follows:
“What Lenin was in 1900, I represent 21st century socialism. I am building a new socialism by fighting for real socialism and imperialism.” (Dialogues with a Free Life, p. 201)
“The PKK developed in line with Marxist-Leninist tradition. After this it will obviously be shaped on this inheritance, inseparable as are flesh and bone.” (Popular Heroism in Kurdistan, p. 78)
“The criteria of socialism and communism prevail in our environment... This also applies to inside the party (PKK). This will apply until a communist society is established.” (Tasfiyeciliğin Tasfiyesi, p. 153)
Let us note the message given by Öcalan many years before: ”'This will apply until a communist society is built'”. This is the ultimate aim of communist groups: “...a communist society.” They first try to impose communism on the society of which they are part; they then seek to continue down that path by the use of terror. The aim is to export it to the world from there because under the communist mindset “a communist world state” must be built and the world must return to a communal social order. A communal society in which there are no moral values, no sacred institutions such as family and state, in which women and children are held in common and, of course, in which there is no religion.
As these words show, for so long as he remains a communist, a he will support violence. There is currently no communal system in the world---even China has embraced capitalism. No communist world state has been built so communists have not achieved their aim. There is a tactic employed by Lenin at this point; one step forward, two steps back. As Lenin says:
“One step forward, two steps back....
It happens in the lives of individuals, and it happens in the history of nations and in the development of parties. It would be the most criminal cowardice to doubt even for a moment the inevitable and complete triumph of the principles of revolutionary Social-Democracy, of proletarian organization and Party discipline.” (Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, 1904)
This tactic expresses a great deal; the need to withdraw and wait until the appropriate climate for communism develops and to take a powerful step forward when the time comes for communism to rule the world. Lenin describes harboring any doubt of such a success as “criminal cowardice.”
There is now the question of the PKK laying down its arms. But have they also abandoned that communist mentality? If so, that is a great gain, and the logic of terror will disappear.
Here we can see why Iraq is unwilling to admit PKK militants into the country; nobody can guarantee that these terrorists will not continue their activities under these circumstances. We again see how the PKK militants not only need to be removed from Turkey, but also rehabilitated. Simply forcing the militants out of Turkey will not produce a solution to terror. The militants will be able to return and carry on with acts of terror whenever they like and may well regard this as an opportunity to regroup. Instead of this, previous methods that have borne fruit should be tried, such as Saudi Arabia’s rehabilitation of terrorists or Libya’s rehabilitation of radical militants engaged in terrorism, and these militants must be reintegrated into society.
The only way to prevent someone from killing, perpetrating cowardly attacks and bringing terror to the world is by reaching the ideology in his mind because what makes him a terrorist, leads him to kill without feeling and propels him to sacrifice himself for its sake is that deeply rooted ideology. The problem is not the gun in his hand. When the ideology in his mind is removed, millions of weapons around him will be of no interest to him.
Ceylan Ozbudak is a Turkish political analyst, television presenter, and executive director of Building Bridges, an Istanbul-based NGO. She can be followed on Twitter via @ceylanozbudak