The future of Turkey in the hands of the Kurds

The future of Turkey in the hands of the Kurds

Ankara, June 12, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

They brought down the AKP government after 13 years

By Manolis Kostidis

It seems that the Kurds will determine the future of Turkey, as well as that of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

For the first time, the pro-Kurdish Party HDP surpassed the electoral threshold of 10% and received 13% of the vote.

Six million Turkish citizens voted for the HDP which won 80 seats in the 550-seat Parliament. The need of the AKP for cooperation, in order to continue to rule the country attach great value to the Kurds, who essentially “overthrew” the Davutoglu government and “buried” Erdogan’s dreams for the presidency.

The discussions were initiated by Erdogan and terminated by Erdogan!

From 2011 until the end of February 2015 the Turkish government had started a dialogue with the Kurds to resolve the issue and bring peace to the Southeastern region of Turkey. The main interlocutor in the negotiations was the leader of the PKK Ocalan Amntoulach, while Ankara usually sent to the island the head of the secret service (MIT) Hakan Fidan. After overcoming many obstacles, negotiations had reached a satisfactory point. The PKK had announced a temporary ceasefire and Ocalan gave his promise for the future termination of the armed struggle he himself had started in 1984.

The climax came in the meeting of February in the Dolmabahce palace where the Turkish government was represented by Interior Minister Efkan Ala and the deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan, while the Kurds were represented by the vice president of the HDP Pervin Buldan and the HDP MP Sirri Sureyya Onder.

The two sides announced the 10 terms of the agreement between the two sides in matters of defining identity, citizenship, democratic coexistence, political action, etc. The conditions were vague and no one knew the details. But it was a proof that something was happening on the Kurdish matter.

Erdogan, however, who was the one who had the courage to start talks with the Kurds, suddenly decided to reject the agreement. One day after the announcement he said, “I cannot accept such an agreement”. Probably he made this move for political reasons, a few months before the elections of June 7, having targeted the votes of nationalists.

The Kurds believe that the Turkish government helps the Islamic State which fights their compatriots in Syria.

Their suspicions increased even further after Erdogan’s statements in the border with Syria, when he almost joyfully stated “Kobani is about to fall”. After the statement riots broke out in southeastern Turkey, in which 50 people were killed. From that moment on the Kurds have reservations about the intentions of the Turkish president.

Will the AKP cooperate with the HDP?

But despite the disagreements, after the election no one excludes the possibility of coalition of the HDP with AKP.

The careful analysis of the statements helps reach this conclusion.

Before the election, the president of the HDP Selahattin Demirtas, addressing Erdogan had said, “we will not let him become president (granting him increased powers)”.

After the election Ahmet Davutoglu in an interview with state television network said that “the Turkish people with their vote did not support the presidential system we have the duty to continue as such”.

Next came Demirtas’ statements, who in the event of the rejection of the presidential system he opened the door to cooperation. “We are not against the presidency because of Mr. Erdogan. It is a system that he wants to impose. We blame the AKP for their errors. If they put an end to their mistakes we are ready to take steps with them. We are ready for the process of resolution (the Kurdish problem), the new Constitution. If The AKP draw the right conclusions for peace, we are ready to put our hand under the stone (sacrifice ourselves)”.

The bazaar for the Kurdish issue – The gives and takes of the two sides

The Turkish government (outgoing) calls the HDP to tell the PKK to end its armed struggle. But everyone knows that the future of the Turkish government, as well as the PKK, however strange it might sound, might be in the hands of Ocalan. “Why do they ask this from us? Ocalan is in Imrali, let them talk with him”, Demirtas says, stressing that the Kurdish leader plays a crucial role in the talks.

The Kurds call for the release from prison of the members of the PKK, the possible release of Ocalan, partial self-governance in the areas of southeastern Turkey. “Why should the model of the regions of Europe not exist in our country”, Demirtas had stated before the election. The free teaching of the Kurdish language in all public schools in the region is one of the key demands.

So far, the Turkish government has allowed the use of the Kurdish language, has given an informal command of non-interference of the Turkish Army in the points where there are rebels of the PKK. In addition, the Kurdish language is taught in private schools. However, much more must be done.