The Kurdish problem at a dangerous juncture

The Kurdish problem at a dangerous juncture

Ankara, February 21, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

The resignation of the head of the MIT and the bill for internal security have caused the reaction of the Kurds

Ocalan and his weakened role

By Manolis Kostidis

The efforts to resolve the Kurdish problem appear to be leading to a dead end, since on February 15 the PKK announced that the process has reached “a dangerous and even critical termination phase”,

A similar announcement was also issued by the armed organization of Kurdish Political Party Groups (KCK), which reported that “it was revealed that Turkey will not take any steps to democratise the country and to solve the Kurdish issue”. Maybe it’s not a coincidence that such announcements are made now, given that on February 7 resigned the head of the MIT, Hakan Fidan, who since 2011 had begun secret talks with the imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, aimed at a ceasefire and a final settlement of Kurdish problem.

On February 4, a group of MPs of the pro-Kurdish HDP had visited Ocalan on the island of Imrali, where he is being kept since February 16, 1999, where he was arrested in Kenya. After the meeting there was information that on March 21, which is the feast of the Kurds, the Newroz, Ocalan would announce the definitive ceasefire in Turkey. At the same time, there was information that the group of MPs would pass on to the KCK letter of Ocalan and the views of the Turkish government. The issue is that no one has announced the contents of the agreement of the Kurd leader with the government.

The departure of Hakan Fidan changed the climate?

While the climate was positive, the resignation of Fidan did not take long to cause the reaction of the KCK, which stressed that “the Turkish government must stop its policy of postponement. They must announce the reasons for not sitting at the negotiating table. The ruling party has not changed anything in its logic and has not taken any steps at a practical level”.

Duran Kalkan, one of the main chieftains of Kurds in Northern Iraq and member of KCK, said that “the AKP wants to present the Kurdish problem as a problem of guerilla fighters and possession of weapons by the PKK. These also are lies. A propaganda which is all about winning votes. The PKK will not leave its arms. A Kurd does not leaves his gun. The Turkish government will be equipped as it wants and everyone must remain unarmed! The aim is to make attacks against civilians. If this situation continues the process is over”.

President of IDP Selahattin Demirtas revealed that in order to comply with the agreement of the PKK disarmament, there are 10 points to be taken by the Turkish government in return. “These, however, are not revealed by the prime minister. There are 10 steps the government must take and so far has done nothing”.

Ahmet Davutoglu, on February 17 attacked the Kurds, saying that “the PKK has not yet disarmed since the ceasefire begun on March 2013. Since there is democracy in Turkey and everyone can express their views then what is the need for weapons? What are the conditions that make the weapons necessary? If there are some aim to transform Turkey into Syria or Iraq, we will not surrender to this view”.

Ocalan and his relations with Ankara and the MIT

It seems that something has gone wrong in the talks, as well as in the influence of Ocalan within the Kurdish Movement. Information from Ankara says that the leader of the PKK stated that he is ready to announce the definitive ceasefire at Newroz, since according to him, “weapons have made come full circle and that he will invite the PKK to a conference to end the armed struggle”.

The columnist of the newspaper Yeni Şafak Amntoulkantir Selva, however, says that “the Kurds of Northern Iraq did not announce Ocalan’s plan. They try to belittle his effort, to cancel it. Are they questioning his power?”

However, many Kurds believe that Ocalan gives up the Kurdish armed struggle that started in 1984 without taking anything from the Turkish government, other than a “promise to formalise the start of talks to resolve the Kurdish issue”.

Political analyst Cengiz Cadar says “the government calls the PKK a terrorist organisation, but shows respect for Ocalan.

Whenever the government’s hopes are crammed, they look to his services. Public order is ensured by means of his help. The situation has reached such a point that Ocalan appears as the “joker” of the government in the deck.

Hakan Fidan’s departure from the MIT, the main interlocutor of Ocalan and the Kurds in Northern Iraq, perhaps is the main sign of the change tactics by Ankara, which hardens its stance towards the Kurds.

The big question is what is the opinion of Recep Tayyip Erdogan about all this as he announced a few days ago that “he did not want and disagrees with the departure of Fidan from MIT”. There are two views, either Davutoglu commences his own policy and hardened his stance on the Kurdish issue, or the two leaders have agreed to a game of “impressions” that will hold up to the parliamentary elections in June, in order to satisfy the Kurds and their Nationalists, so as to broaden the apparent victory of the AKP.

Davutoglu brings bill that expands the jurisdiction of the security forces

Within this atmosphere the Davutoglu government brought to Parliament a bill regarding internal security that includes public order measures that restrict freedoms and increases the powers of the security forces. Those who are caught wearing hoods in protests will be sentenced to 5 years in prison, while the police will have the right to shoot in order to immobilise those who attack with Molotov cocktails!

The tension in Turkey was evident during the discussion of this bill in the Turkish Parliament, where opposition MPs “came to blows” with their colleagues from the AKP who tabled the bill, with four MPs sustaining injuries as a result.