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Mehmet Ali Birand - English

Cindoruk won, but Bayar grew

19 Mayıs 2009
Nobody expected such a result.

I did not give Hüsamettin Cindoruk much credit.

The public had the impression that former politicians do not want to be back on stage. despite his talent Cindoruk was out of the scene for a long time and led me to believe that he’d have a disadvantage in that he lost contact with the DP. But he was supported by Demirel. It was questionable how effective this support would be.

Younger people favored M. Ali Bayar.

Bayar is a person who needs to take his place among the future leaders. His world view, culture and talent are suitable for a politician’s personality. He might have had a unfortunate start. He is young and has his life before him.

Süleyman Uslu is not known very well by the public and thus there is not much information about him. But leaving the party and then returning did not go very well for him. Nobody cared about the fact that he was supported by Tansu Çiller and Fetullah Gülen. Everybody has the right to support someone. Besides, it was important for him to receive their support.

It was generally estimated that the DP congress will elect neither Cindoruk nor Bayar. Süleyman Soylu was the one to win.

The reason was that the congress delegation was elected by Soylu.

It didn’t turn out as expected. It was understood that the DP delegation did not obey the leader who elected them.

After the DP congress, talking to those who closely monitor internal intrigues and back stage developments it was understood that there was chaos. The DP congress turned into a race of electing a leader for the future centre-right. The AKP bleeding was a plus. Center of forces that wanted to fill in the blank in the centre-right and take under control the party simply invaded the congress. Süleyman Demirel forgetting all his principles went on air and supported Cindoruk. Meetings were held on Güniz Street up until the last minute. Despite that Cindoruk did not gain expected votes. And this upset the Demirel camp.

The Mehmet Haberal team exercised pressure. They were successful behind the curtains. They spent effort on impressing delegates who sympathized with them.

Tansu Çiller and Mesut Yılmaz also spent effort in rallies.

They themselves were not there but their friends were. They spent much effort to have their friends participate in the party administration.

Eyes were looking to see Rıfat Hisarcıklıoğlu, who a long time ago said he’d enter politics. With this attitude he showed that he retreated from the race.

In the end with much effort Cindoruk emerged from the chaos but as he puts it himself he is just a custodian who will gather ANAP and DYP sympathizers and leave the flag to a younger leader if there are still any left.

After looking at the scene in the congress everybody accepts that M. Ali Bayar is the person attracting much attention. Maybe he didn’t win today but he quickly proved that he is the only nominee to hold DP’s strings in his hands. This performance in congress was very much impressive.

From now on all eyes will be turned to the DP. For, this party is still in a leader search. If, Cindoruk as he puts forth, gathers central right and leaves his place to a younger nominee, he will contribute much to Turkish democracy.

Türkan Saylan was always young

Professoe Türkan Saylan died happy. Her eyes were shining bright till the last minute.

She was revived by the Ergenekon raid.

But what a pity it is that part of the Turkish public got to know Saylan through these developments. Whereas she sacrificed herself to this society and carried campaigns regarding the struggle against lepracy in the present. We embrace people who are so modest at heart and work hard for human health and well-being,.

We should applaud her not for being a monument representing secularism or for opposing the AKP but for sacrificing herself to humanity. For, let’s not forget, politics is temporary. People are the ones to stay.

God rest her soul.
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Davutoğlu’s response to Merkel and Sarkozy

15 Mayıs 2009
The reason is obvious: To grant Turkey a privileged partnership instead of full membership will be in the interest of Europe and Turkey. For, Europe is not yet out of the crisis, and it won’t be able to assimilate a big country like Turkey. Turkey in itself is also in a difficult situation. It can’t complete its reforms.

Merkel does not want negotiations to cease. Berlin’s Pacta Sunt Servanda approach persists. It aims to prolong the accession period for as long as possible and creates suspicion regarding the target. Whereas Sarkozy acts based on grounds of internal politics. He conducts politics.

This new development was explained first in Ankara during a dinner given by Foreign Minister Davutoğlu for ambassadors of EU countries and then yesterday in Stockholm during his meeting with Swedish Foreign Minister Karl Bildt and Olli Rehn, EU enlargement commissioner.

Davutoğlu, during these contacts, has put forward his personal position regarding the EU in such a way that he left no doubts in the minds of others. "Turkey’s strategic priority is Europe," he said. "Our sole target is full membership. Any other formula is not subject to acceptance," he responded to Sarkozy and Merkel.

I had mentioned in my former articles doubts regarding Davutoğlu’s view on the EU and whether he put his priority on the Middle East. An EU authority who closely followed the meeting in Ankara between EU ambassadors and Davutoğlu told me that some questions in the mind of the ambassadors have now vanished, saying: "He spoke very openly and put all priority on EU negotiations. There is not a question left in anybody’s mind."

He also took the Foreign Ministry’s pulse.

As you know the Foreign Ministry is very picky when it comes to the EU issue. According to signals I receive, Davutoğlu’s EU approach especially creates satisfaction. I think, regarding Davutoğlu, we should stop telling fortunes but roll up our sleeves because if our strategic priority is the EU, the opportunity for accelerating reforms came a long time ago.

Bayar important for DP
The Democratic Party, or DP, is maybe going to congress to live or die. Either it rears up and selects a leader who takes back the party’s position in politics or it vanishes in the dark for good.

The DP is a very interesting party. It lived through a very unfortunate reunion process in 2007, upset its people and was abused in a boorish way. But during recent local elections we noticed that the DP did not vanish completely.

Chairman Süleyman Soylu was not able to become popular. He even could not obtain as much media support as the Saadet (Felicity) Party. The DP received less than a quarter of the support that went to Saadet, which received much attention in hopes of deteriorating the AKP. The election results surprised many. While Saadet received 5 percent despite all the support, the DP received 4 percent of votes. This means the core of the DP was still there.

The Turkish public is in a search these days. It is searching for a central party that is not democrat or fanatic but pious, secular but not secularist. The DP with a majority conforms to this. This means, it is understood that this party will have a future. And when its attractiveness increased, the leadership contest accelerated all of a sudden. In this contest among leaders, M. Ali Bayar is the most interesting and bright one.

Süleyman Soylu has proven himself in his straightforward style. Young and dynamic but he was unable to make the big jump for his party during his chairman period. He surely has his reasons. But in the end the public blames the leader. Hüsamettin Cindoruk is very experienced and respected and knows Turkey’s recent history best. But it is a fact that the public likes to test younger generations.

Bayar’s world perception and experience provides him an important advantage in this contest but no matter what, the way things go is more based on delegate calculations than on personal skills.

Whoever might be elected, the DP congress in Turkey for a party on the verge of bankruptcy is important for the revival of democracy. The DP needs to regain strength and take its place on the political spectrum. A DP in the central scene will contribute much to Turkish democracy.
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Even if we want, we can’t walk away from Baku

14 Mayıs 2009
These contacts will influence the following developments:

w They will either put the issue between Turkey and Armenia on the right track or push it into a situation where there won’t be any way out. As relations with Armenia decay, relations with Washington will get worse and pressure on Turkey exercised from the international community will increase.

w The solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh issue between Azerbaijan and Armenia will either get easier or even more chaotic. If it becomes unsolvable Turkey and Azerbaijan will be uncomfortable even if Russia benefits from it.

w Turkey will become an energy corridor and an extremely valuable bridge between the Caucasus and Europe. This project will either gain speed or raise difficulties during Erdoğan’s visit.

A lot of bargaining is going on within the Turkey-Azerbaijan-Armenia-Russia square. If this game of chess is played carefully with the right moves, then the way will be paved for Turkey. Erdoğan is in a difficult situation because acrobatic skills are needed to establish a balance between Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia. The Baku visit has been scheduled right on time. The Azerbaijanis are just like us. They are a very sensitive society that acts based on emotions. They might easily say, "You sold us," and come to the conclusion that they have been cheated.

Ankara’s concern is to get relations with Armenia back to normal and realize the solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh issue simultaneously without upsetting the Azerbaijanis. The Armenians want the border to open immediately, whereas the Azerbaijanis want Turkey not to take a step before the Nagorno-Karabakh issue has been resolved. And besides it is not only Ankara that holds the key. Moscow, Washington, Yerevan and Baku put forth their own scenarios.

Whatever might be, the most important country to be guarded and watched over is Azerbaijan. Even if the Azerbaijani exaggerate and do not watch over Turkey’s benefits in the long run, we feel different about them. Erdoğan’s contacts with Baku seem positive when viewed from the outside. And it couldn’t be any different. But there is some good to be on the safe side. Those who embrace each other today might fight tomorrow. Turkey walks a "long narrow road" in the Caucasus. The first steps are affirmative but we can’t tell yet what is waiting for us at the end of the road.

Finally commanders to be interrogated

It seemed as if it would never happen. On one side those preparing a coup are interrogated and indictments are released in succession but on the other side there is no investigation done regarding the coup diaries circulating in the media. Can you imagine, there is constant discussion about the coup diaries, which are believed to belong to former Chief of Naval Operations Özden Örnek but no formal authority bothers to ask, "What are those?"

It has started to get ridiculous. While the General Staff wriggles itself out of this by saying, "We investigated but couldn’t find any concrete evidence," the Ergenekon prosecutors did not bother much.

Then finally there was response. Reporters at the news center for Kanal D’s News and CNNTürk delivered news saying that Özden Örnek, Aytaç Yalman and İbrahim Fırtına will soon testify. No matter how much sources inside the office of the chief public prosecutor deny this and say that is not on their agenda yet, I trust my reporters. This happened before. News was out, they denied it and some weeks later we found out the news was correct.

The coup diaries may be exaggerated but part of them is correct. This is accepted by almost all people whose names are mentioned in the diaries, like Gen. İlker Başbuğ. I received the same answer from people that I talked to, just like Gen. Yaşar Büyükanıt saying, "It is clearly understood that something is going on but not so sure who is doing what." After Gen. Hilmi Özkök’s testimony other commanders were not asked anything, which was not comprehendible at all. If the Ergenekon case for the first time was to investigate a coup conspiracy, it should have started with the diaries. It seems, this step will finally be taken.
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Would Davutoğlu push the EU back?

13 Mayıs 2009
I met Davutoğlu during his frequently organized briefings in recent years. When he entered the world we already share, he would think more like an "academic member," and evaluate in a more concrete way and filter things through a scientist’s sieve.

We would leave his briefings that used to go on for hours without something concrete in hand.

Davutoğlu over the years quickly became a person who adjusted to our world. He took care to stay behind the curtains. He used to stay behind and not brag about his successes.

After a while he started to take action and over the years became a personality trusted by the prime minister. I can’t say I know Davutoğlu well but I am curious about his ideas especially regarding the EU.

Davutoğlu does not oppose the EU. To tell the truth, he is smart enough not to believe in such a dogmatic approach. He knows that a Turkey that strengthened its relations with the EU would be more effective in Islamic countries and countries in the region. He realizes that a Turkey outside the EU would not be attractive no matter how hard it would try.

So should full membership be Davutoğlu’s priority?

I don’t know the answer. This question was not asked in any of the meetings I went to. If I can find an obvious answer some day, I’ll share it with you. There is a great chance he’ll say, "If the prime minister decides that way it will be our priority," but what I’m really curious about is what is going on in Davutoğlu’s mind. What do you think?

Before local elections we listened to the same words over and over for a year. It was stressed that these elections were extremely important and no steps were to be taken that could lead to a loss of votes. The EU was for the AKP a second priority. First of all, the Justice and Development Party, or AKP needed to increase its votes.

The prime minister’s visit to Brussels and his speeches during that visit, Egemen Bağış’s appointment as chief negotiator and the approval of the national program created the impression that after local elections Turkey would quickly start a reform period.

In the seat of newly appointed Bağış a storm broke lose.

The EU commission, the member country delegation in Brussels and the European Parliament finally found a determined "Turkish negotiator" who only dealt with the EU. In a recent chat with monthly Kriter, Bağış announced the road map for future undertakings. Right after that it was said, "Wait, a change of Cabinet will take place."

But there is still no visible action in sight. I wonder if we are impatient.I don’t think so.

If negotiations have slowed down or even come to a halt, it is Ankara’s fault, or better to say the prime minister’s fault.

The to-do list is very long. But Ankara still does not move. The reason is that the prime minister does not give a signal or doesn’t want to do so. No matter how much Bağış pushes, it won’t lead anywhere without the prime minister pushing the button.

But one point we need to pay attention to is that if we don’t hurry, then two subjects to be opened in July won’t be ready.

If looked upon from the outside, it seems as is Turkey moves slowly and is in no hurry.

Let’s not be unfair, the government has a lot to do. Many things are on its agenda but it still needs to arrange its priorities that conform to promises it made upfront.

That is why I want to ask:

Come on nowÉ

Local elections are over. Why are you still not taking any action?

Revival of process necessary

Bağış said he would suggest a new operating plan for Parliament and create new formulas to ease the release of successive amendments. There is no such activity in Parliament. If the government wants to create a status of "continuous full membership candidate" and continue like this for 5-10 more years, then that’s fine. But if it aims at obtaining results and reviving the full membership process, it must take action.

Believe me, if Turkey continues at this pace, other forces in the EU will take advantage and create other formulations instead of full membership. And be assured that some EU countries that oppose privileged membership formulas will support new formulas by saying, "Turkey cannot handle this anyway."

Be informed..
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Let’s for once behave differently

12 Mayıs 2009
It has buried thousands of martyrs in its heart. I wonder if we could convince this society to accept a different approach, a different speech. It is very difficult but not impossible. If we get it across well, if we communicate it well our chances will increase. That’s where the person called "leader" steps in.

Everybody, and foremost the military, says we have obtained the possibility to start a new process for the Kurdish issue. But there is also fear on one side. The basis for this fear lays in the reaction of society. How will society react? If we cannot communicate it very well, hell will be raised.

People we identified as terrorists and treated them as such and the state that also viewed everyone close to them will change their approach. Change their words. And this can only be done by the prime minister. If he can put forth his leadership and weight, and communicate well, then he could make the society take the step that would delete the PKK terror and pave the way for the country.

But he cannot make this happen by himself. He needs to move simultaneously with the Turkish Armed Forces, or TSK, and pull the media on his side. If this triangle can be established, then everything that seems impossible could be achieved. If only Erdoğan puts his mind to it. Turkey has obtained such an important opportunity that it cannot ignore, or sacrifice to simple games. For, if necessary steps are not taken and weapons not silenced thousands of our people will continue dying. We cannot hide this fact from each other any more.

We cannot take Kandil under complete control
If might be difficult to accept some facts but there is some good in knowing them. I’d like to discuss one of the most frequently asked questions in public. Can the Kandil Mountains be completely taken under control? The question is based on whether the TSK will control the mountains completely and disable the PKK.

How come we cannot reach Kandil with such a strong army? The public still thinks that the PKK only exists in the Kandil Mountains and once the mountains are reached the problem will be solved. The state has created such an impression. And now it can’t tell the truth. One fact is that the TSK won’t be able to take the Kandil Mountains under control.

I heard this fact out of the mouth of two different chiefs of General Staff. Even if the Iraqi government allows it, the northern Iraqi Kurdistan administration tolerates it and the Americans support it, it is impossible to realize this plan because of the positioning of the mountains.

The geography and political facts in the region make it impossible. Even if we sacrifice thousands of soldiers the possibility of success will be very minimal.

One other fact is that the PKK lives not only in Kandil but also in the Southeast and in Istanbul and other big cities. It is impossible to separate the PKK from the DTP and the organization is supported by the majority of the people in the region, thus we need to realize and accept that we cannot eliminate it with weapons.

If we do not realize these facts we can neither take advantage of opportunities in front of us nor get any closer to peace. And the PKK started to see some facts. It realized that it won’t get anywhere with weapons. Let’s make a new start and save the country’s territorial integrity. For some time let’s not pull the trigger. We are entering a difficult period.

Soldiers becoming martyrs by stepping on mines from other forces than the PKK will hurt us and make us angry. But we need to hang in there. We need to be patient while following the road that leads to peace it will be full of difficulties and traps. Foreign forces that don’t want a cease fire will provoke us and internal forces that benefit from violence will do their best to continue. We need to stand up to this. We should not be deceived. For once we should go beyond the ordinary.
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Disarmament negotiations started

8 Mayıs 2009
If you pile up recent events, like words spoken by the Chief of General Staff Gen. Başbuğ, statements by Prime Minister Erdoğan, speeches from Washington and foremost by President Obama, views from the European Union, and then add Karayılan’s declaration, you’ll find a very clear picture.

The picture I’m looking at is very clear:

Conditions and balances in the region have changed quite a bit compared to former years. Today an international environment has emerged based on Washington and the European Union. The PKK is pressured to put down its weapons and carry out their issues on a political platform and through peaceful actions. Besides, those supporting the organization who understood that armed attacks and murder do not lead anywhere also warn PKK leaders that it is enough now and ask them to trade their weapons for a political struggle.

The Turkish public is also fed up with terror. It has gotten tired and is looking for a way out of this vicious cycle. The military and politicians have rolled up their sleeves to take advantage of this opportunity. That is why a "door of opportunities" has been opened. The sooner we enter that door, the fewer people will die, a bleeding wound will heal, our way will be paved. Turkey will be the star of the region. But if we again like in 1993 or 1999 miss out on the opportunity, then there will be more blood shed then ever. We will remain where we are and be the ones to lose. That’s why Ankara is excited.

In Arbil and finally also in the Kandil mountains, people are making plans to step through this door. What’s not known is: how to jump over the doorstep.

The prerequisite for jumping over the doorstep and starting a new period together is for the two parties to meet and talk. But at least one of the two parties is not sitting down at the negotiation table. It is even reluctant to appear as if it is sitting at the table. It can’t bring itself to do so. Thus the classic system steps in. First steps are taken through the media. Turkish authorities make statements through the media. The military makes declarations and puts forth its opinion. And Karayılan interprets developments in his personal way through chats with Cemal. He puts forth his own views.

As you see, first contacts start this way.

To read Karayılan’s words as "a struggle of a terror leader to cheat the Turkish public" would be very wrong. We need to read between the lines and accept that extremely important messages are given as well as information is supplied that goes beyond the ordinary. We are not obligated to accept it, but while listening to the other party, we get other insights regarding the PKK.

"Words like the PKK putting down its weapons are nonsense. It should, but where and how? To whom? What’s the grounds for putting down weapons? There is no use in saying that. Let’s first sit down and talk. The PKK is not like it used to be. Compared to old times, the PKK is now more reasonable. For example, formerly it wanted an independent Kurdish state. This was in the past. It no longer is a ’separatist.’ We want the Kurds to live equal and free within the boundaries of the Turkish Republic.

I’d like to make that clear. This is not a tactic. The period of separation as a cast out of an independent state, started in 1993 and ended with İmralı in 1999 [the date of the capture of Öcalan[. The paradigm changed. É Now we say ’a democratic, autonomous Kurdistan.’ By autonomous we don’t mean a federation. There won’t be new borders drawn. It’s a solution that does not violate the unity of the state. But the local administration act has to change and local administrations strengthened."

I repeat, we might not believe in his statements and see it as a delusion. And even request the PKK to show that it changed in a more concrete way. Or be extra careful.

And we might be right in being this suspicious. But if we want to take the opportunity that came before us and take a step toward success, we need to evaluate all views carefully and find a mutual way.

When simplifying Karayılan’s words we see different headlines and views:

PKK’s road map

w The PKK has changed. It’s not the way it used to be. It is not after independence anymore. It wants to live equally and free within the boundaries of Turkey.

w We don’t ask for a federation, either. Instead, we want places where we have majority of votes to be under our local administration.

w Let’s first silence weapons. We have done that and do not use weapons to attack anymore. We use them to defend ourselves. We shoot them when the military comes at us. We put weight on mass activity, civil disobedience and political activity. That’s why we don’t attack and in return the military should not attack us.

w You should recognize our cultural rights related to our Kurdish identity. For this, you need to change the related laws.

w The project, which some call "amnesty" and we call "social consensus," should be brought to life. Let’s forget the tyranny we have done to each other, let’s forgive each other.

w We could use the Kurdish conference as a method. The result from this conference cannot only be "PKK to put down its weapons." But we could reach a general consensus.

As I said upfront, if we leave all fear aside we might conclude from Karayılan’s words that the PKK has started to see important facts. These words are not former words. The administration is not the former administration. We should not expect the Turkish public to believe these words. For, the pain is very deep. It is inevitable that the organization will show a correct and sincere attitude.

Up until then formal authority needs to take careful steps and weigh the value of this statement in order not to miss out on the opportunity at hand. As I stated in my article yesterday, the most realistic person to do this would be Barzani.
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Kandil is also aware

7 Mayıs 2009
Cemal has a nose like a reporter; his articles reveal all his experience and his evaluations are realistic. Him climbing Kandil through northern Iraq and taking the pulse of those in the mountains is full of hints as to where the most current issue (PKK putting down its weapons) could lead.

First of all, it is obvious that the process continues at full speed. While Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ says, "We have obtained an opportunity to end the PKK terror. We must take advantage of it," those up in the Kandil Mountains and those on the outskirts openly say, "It’s about time to put down weapons but we question how it’s being handled."

Be it former chairman of the Democracy Party, or DEP, (a precursor to the DTP) Yaşar Kaya or Osman Öcalan, almost everybody contacted by Cemal states that it’s time for the PKK to put down its weapons because it is understood that weapons won’t lead anywhere. The change within the PKK is easily noticeable. But it comes down to how this situation is to be solved. Thinking you might not have read Cemal’s narrative or impressions, I’d like to summarize for you. For, this series draws a road map for Turkey’s most important issue. Support received by the PKK and conditions under which those up in the mountains would come down have been put the best by Öcalan:

"No, it won’t change. The state in Turkey knows this best. Besides, today 95 percent of all political and national experience is leading to a favorable solution for the PKK. The Kurdish people and all Kurds know that the PKK and its leader Apo brought up rights for the Kurds. That’s why there is 95 percent support. É One other reality is the PKK cannot be eliminated! Statements like, ’We’ll finish the PKK this year, we’ll finish the PKK next year,’ do not reflect the truth. É The PKK is a power that can reproduce itself. If there is a problem in Turkey, then it will find, and in fact it finds, militants in Iran, if there are problems in Iran it will go for Iraq, if there are problems in Iraq it will go for Syria and if that doesn’t work out it will go for Europe. Besides its range is quite wide and Kurdistan’s geography is mountainous. Yes, the time is up for war or weapons. It’s time to descend from the mountains! The PKK can’t leave as it is. But as long as a political alternative is not presented the PKK cannot be eliminated. É The starting point for a withdrawal from the mountains is a pardon, there is no other way. The pivotal point is a pardon. A pardon announced without any discrimination. Now word is out to release 200-250 people except the leaders. That won’t work. There will be only 1or 2 percent disobeying the leaders. Others will remain in the mountains. As a starting point a pardon is the pivotal point."

According to Yaşar Kaya, the only way out for the PKK is putting down its weapons: "Today the point we arrived at is that the United States, the EU, Iraq and also the Iraqi Kurdistan Administration is determined. A plan is cooking in the kitchen. PKK issues are ongoing. This issue will be settled. The period of secret organizations and struggle with weapons has passed. Kurdish uproar with weapons is over. It would be best for the PKK to put down its weapons without any prerequisite. Something is cooking in the kitchen to cleanse the issue from violence and weapons. Then you see nine soldiers are martyred here and something happening in Bostancı there. Now it’s time to put down weapons. Who is whose subcontractor or who carries out whose wishes? This is called chaos. A general pardon is needed. Among the leaders 100-150 people could be sent to Scandinavia. A pardon compromise could be made that does not hurt the honor of these people. Let’s not forget that they are not up in the mountains to have a picnic. They are revolting because they are after a national and cultural demand. Together with a pardon, the way for civil politics should be paved."

Some statements made by people Cemal talked to have attracted my attention:

"There is only a slight chance for the PKK to withdraw from the mountains. They won’t put their weapons down. An organization up there for 30 years. You need to guarantee many things like not hurting their pride and make them believe it, or else it’ll be difficult. They are not up there to picnic." "Look man, there are people within the PKK who want to come down from the mountains. They see the truth. But it is not that easy. The PKK is still a strong organization. The support for the PKK does not only consist of the 2 million votes coming from the DTP. PKK’s effectiveness among the Kurds in Turkey is way beyond this. Weapons and living in the mountains has become a lifestyle for the PKK. Now it needs to leave this behind and come down to the lowlands. But Turkey does not provide any security." "The possibility of PKK putting down its weapons? Weak! The PKK is a rich holding É Maybe worth $10 billion É passageways to Turkey include Haji Umran, Galarash, Hinare É From these points they collect $1.5 million per night. These are separate from passage ways to Iran É by the way they easily obtain 1,000 euros for one kilo of drugs."

Karayılan’s method

Of course among all this the most import person is Murat Karayılan, still leading the PKK. What he says gives clues to how they want the mechanism to work. First of all, he wants both sides to stop operations and start a dialogue:

"In the first step weapons need to subside É then a dialogue will start É the place for the dialogue is İmralı ÉIf that is denied then we are the place for dialogue. É And if we are not accepted then it’s the politically chosen decree, (here he does not mention DTP but when I say it he nods in approval) É If that doesn’t work then a mutual commission will be established somewhere and wise men will get together. For example, men like İlter Türkmen (former secretary of state and ambassador) or people like you gather and a mechanism will start to work É and the state will address this mechanism for a dialogue É why shouldn’t that work, why shouldn’t there be a mechanism? Isn’t there any political decree? Are there blanks in the political area? One wonders, where is the prime minister of 2005É" Now let’s get back to what I wrote a few days ago and see how we can get rid of this vicious cycle. The General Staff and government do not want to even speak the word pardon from their mouth.

They prefer to elasticize the application of the law in force. A mutual dialogue is out of the question. So what will happen? From what Karayılan told Cemal we get the impression that he is not that stringent. He seems as if looking for a way out, as if in a mood of waiting for a formula from Ankara. Now at this stage it seems that Barzani should take on the role of a negotiator or messenger. The leader of the northern Iraq Kurdistan Administration could take on this role and keep his relation with both sides on a certain level. I will continue to examine Karayılan’s attitude further tomorrow.
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We’re strengthening PKK by bothering DTP

6 Mayıs 2009
The PKK is in a real sense at a crossroads. Each road shows the effectiveness of the organization. One will end in the closing of Kandil and with the end of the struggle with weapons. The other will lead to a period of falling apart without the organization losing its efficiency. International pressure is being exercised on the PKK, and the pressure is increasing. Brussels and foremost Washington want a cease-fire in Arbil and Baghdad. Everybody accepts that they won’t get anywhere as long as terror continues. The PKK is at a dead-end, hard to get out of. To extend this period and get some benefits in exchange for putting down weapons, it shoots at any target it can.

Washington is not yet ready for joint operation
Ankara pressures Washington. Contacts are being made regarding an operation against the PKK or at least a request to support the TSK. The Pentagon still resists. But in the end they will not stand up to Turkey’s persistence. Let’s not forget they had finally after a two-year negotiation period accepted intelligence sharing through northern Iraq. Washington is keen on providing northern Iraq’s territorial integrity and obtaining support from Turkey during the withdrawal process. Turkey is probably not of vital importance when it comes to Iraq’s stability, but it is viewed as a country "with important contributions to stability." And it’s not just Iraq but also Afghanistan that calls for good relations between Ankara and Washington.

Turkish military sources say the PKK will be eliminated by the end of the year even though dilemmas faced by the Turkish military stir from its attitude toward the Democratic Society Party, or DTP. Forces that support Turkey in the elimination of the PKK are planning to save the Kurdish issue from a struggle with weapons and turn it into a political struggle. They tell the Kurds: "You won’t get anywhere with weapons and killing people. Put down your weapons and carry out the struggle in Parliament."

In Ankara neither military nor civilians intend for such a thing. Maybe it’s not spoken out loud, but the DTP seems even more dangerous than the armed PKK. It is believed that the DTP will, through civilian disobedience, huge demonstrations and actions in Parliament, put the Turkish Republic in a difficult position.

Those who say, "Struggle against terror, which may be bloody, is easy because you’ll have the public behind you. In the end you’ll respond to weapons with weapons. Those with stronger weapons will win. At least the opponent won’t gain anything," explain the danger of carrying the Kurdish issue into the political arena as follows:

"Politics are slippery. You can’t control the public as you please. All of a sudden you find yourself sympathizing with the DTP and then you lose." Based on this rationale, the military and the political administration do not only beat the PKK but also the DTP.

The AKP government does not shake hands with the DTP leader. It does not even visit this party. The military does not go to Parliament because it does not want to meet the DTP or listen to the spokesperson thereof. Relations with local administrators are kept to a minimum level. We could say there is almost no contact at all. They think they are punishing the DTP this way and estranging them from the PKK. But they are mistaken.

As long as the DTP is pushed away from the system, it is forced to shift toward the PKK. For, real support for this party comes from the PKK. Folks support the PKK, not the DTP. The DTP receives votes because the PKK wants it that way. As Ankara maintains its attitude against the PKK and DTP, the issue becomes even more unsolvable. So how are we to get out of this deadlock?

The PKK is right in the middle of this deadlock.

No matter how much it is losing of its former image, the organization is still alive. Money is flowing in. As long as their way is not paved or as long as they do not believe in returning home safely, they will continue to stay in the mountains and as long as they are up there, they will continue with terror. And I believe that Turkey has obtained a precious opportunity. International fluctuations have for long years not worked against the PKK (except for the period when Öcalan was caught in 1998). But what’s important is to know how to benefit from this situation and determine steps to be taken to speed up the process. Wonder if we will produce rational politicians this time? Or will we take on a narrow nationalist viewpoint and miss out on the opportunity?

If we want to get rid of terror, we must not prevent our Kurdish citizens from participating in politics. On the contrary, we must pave the way and provide them the opportunity to conduct their struggle within the frame of democracy and under the roof of Parliament. It’s enough to believe in and play by the rules of democracy.
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