Kurdish deputies, risks and opportunities

I should immediately note that the re-entry of the deputies of Kurdish origin to Parliament offers very important opportunities as well as exposing some inherent risks.

Kurdish deputies, risks and opportunities
By Bülent Keneş, Today's Zaman

The July 22 elections turned out to be a platform where our citizens of Kurdish descent gained the right of representation, according to their own politicized rhetoric, having come to be -- willingly or unwillingly -- associated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) after being expelled from Turkish Parliament in 1993 as a result of a process that had been triggered in 1991 when they attempted to use the Kurdish language during the oath-taking ceremony upon entering Parliament. With the help of the elections, pro-Kurdish deputies have managed to enter Parliament after 14 years.

Although an important portion of our Kurdish citizens have had the chance to be represented through Kurdish candidates nominated by other parties in all Parliaments since the expulsion and imprisonment in 1993 of Democracy Party (DEP) deputies, which was a great mistake according to me, the segment of our Kurdish citizens that came under the influence of the PKK obtained a genuine chance on July 22 for real representation with their expectations and wishes through the 22 independent DTP deputies who come right from the midst of the Kurdish problem.

I should immediately note that the re-entry of the deputies of Kurdish origin to Parliament offers very important opportunities as well as exposing some inherent risks. Above all, in the event proper working conditions and grounds for reconciliation are generated through these deputies, who are the most competent experts on the reasons for the sympathy of the eastern and southeastern regions for the PKK -- regions where Kurdish citizens are the majority -- we can cover a serious distance in terms of finishing off the terrorist group politically and divesting it of public support.

Of course, the first and foremost condition of generating proper working conditions is that these Kurdish deputies, who are currently independent but who will soon reunify under the roof of the DTP, must prove to be courageous enough to draw a very broad line between themselves and the terrorist group. It should be our most natural right to expect an attitude with which the independent DTP deputies, who are now a movement with a right to democratic representation in Parliament, should oppose, condemn and sideline the bloody terrorism of the PKK.

Without a doubt, the DTP deputies will be a part of a solution to the extent they are able to keep clear of the PKK's actions and statements. Given the realities of the regions they come from, the greatest risk awaiting the DTP deputies, who share the same social base with the PKK, is the possibility that they might not have the courage to achieve the much-anticipated separation from the PKK. If they function as spokespeople of the bloody PKK in lieu of acting with the responsibility of deputies elected through democratic methods, they will become the malicious means of an ever-deepening problem, let alone being a part of any solution.

Alongs with the 22 independent DTP deputies, the deputies of Kurdish descent of the AK Party, who have a higher level of representation in the region, can also play a major role in forming a conciliatory ground by assuming a role of functional mediation. The democratic maturity expected of the AK Party, which will be the government and had a majority in the Parliament, will be the greatest opportunity for the DTP deputies in the new term. Benefiting from or wasting this opportunity will be determined by the DTP deputies' attitude toward the PKK. Although it seems rather improbable that the DTP will show the maturity expected of the AK Party, I want to hope that they will at least endeavor to this end.

In addition, the fact that the independents of the DTP will come together with the nationalist MHP deputies under the same roof presents important opportunities along with the great risks it exposes. The attitude of the MHP deputies toward the independents of the DTP will be a determining factor as important as the attitude of the DTP toward the PKK. I can say this much at this stage: Parliament could well become a battlefield of ethnic-based nationalist mottos or, in contrast, a huge field of conciliation where the rigidity of these mottos might be curtailed to a significant degree.

The first possibility contains massive dangers, such as the terrorization of Parliament by the DTP and MHP deputies, causing it to stop functioning properly, while the second possibility offers an ointment to Turkey's wound of terrorism and separatism, bleeding for a quarter century. Given the general principle that the most lasting conciliations and peace treaties are the ones between hawks, I hope that the independents of the DTP and the MHP deputies opt for the second path, which is the one in favor of our country and our nation.

I also hope that the attitude of the CHP -- which has been almost thoroughly blotted out from the East and Southeast, thereby becoming a regional party of the West -- toward the DTP will be different from their traditional status quo stance. At this point, I want to think that the CHP is intelligent enough to discern that their chances of becoming a national party again are directly related to their decision on whether to try to work with the DTP deputies or to clash with them.

The new Parliament, as I have pointed out, both exposes great risks and presents important opportunities. The decision and its concomitant responsibility are to be shouldered first by the deputies in Parliament and then by all of us.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Temmuz 2007, 11:03