It’s only a ‘ceasefire process’; let nobody jump the gun

Things rapidly fall into place – that is, their ‘default settings’.

President Erdoğan made an extraordinary addition to his series of amazing, baffling and mind boggling “New Turkey” policy statements in his address in Balıkesir:

“What is the Kurdish question, what on Earth are you talking about? What have you been missing? As a Kurd, have you been president in this country? Yes, you have. Have you been prime minister? Yes, you have. Have you been minister? Yes, you have. Have you sent, or are you sending directors to top offices in the state? Yes, you are. Do you have staff in the Turkish Armed Forces? You have.”

“For God’s sake, what is different about how you have been treated? You have everything!… What else do you want? What do you want?”

If there are still some people who don’t understand that what some dreamers call “peace process” is nothing else but a “ceasefire process”, I suggest them to read the statement above carefully.

I’m neither an AKP member, nor a Kurd. It’s not my place to comment from their perspective.

However, there are Kurdish citizens who have false hope regarding the current proceedings and are in denial, in thinking the “ceasefire process” is a “peace process”. Even if not an outright reaction, they will surely raise questions about “what the hell is going on”.

In the background of the Balıkesir speech, add the private conversation (mentioned recently byFaruk Mercan) between Erdoğan and Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat at the Prime Minister’s office towards the end of 2008:

At that meeting Fırat suggested it was time for a reform in education in mother tongue, and here is what Erdoğan said:

“I have been all across the Southeast. There wasn’t even a soul who told me they wanted education in Kurdish. Besides, how can the Kurds have a mother tongue without a having state?”

Fırat replied:

“The Kurds have a state. The Turkish Republic. And you are the prime minister of that state. I’m asking you for Kurdish education on behalf of my children.”

When Fırat got no response he left the room.

We are talking about a people who rose up against state oppression several times in the last century and who (according to KONDA data) make up 14 million of our population – do you expect them to say, “Well, okay friends, let’s get back home then” when they are told that they have not been deprived of anything.

The state frees the headscarf as a basic human right and allows it in schools and the Parliament, but “officially” denies another basic right – talking with the state in one’s own mother language, getting education in the mother language –; it does not accept in schools, hospitals, public offices, municipalities, politics, the army etc.; it tells you to go away.

Ah, yes, and there was the 10 article mentioned in the Dolmabahçe declaration, right?

Do you hear anything from the AKP?

Let the optimistic and hopeful Kurdish electorate reflect on the “ceasefire process”, which is somehow called the “peace process”, as they are “negotiating the negotiation” with the AKP-controlled state and portioning their votes out to the AKP and HDP.

Perhaps they will remember to ask why the AKP is telling stories of peace on one hand, but on the other hand is trying to pass the Internal Security Bill instead of removing the reservations on the European Charter of Local Self-Government.

In the meantime, Sırrı Süreyya Önder of the HDP delegation that goes to İmralı, tries to keep alive hopes and tells Öcalan will make “momentous” announcements at Nevruz.

However, questioning minds – including Önder himself – will know that mere words serve only as a distraction, and the “ceasefire process” is improbable to turn into a “peace process” unless officials stop telling the Kurds, “what else do you want?”

At best, the ceasefire will drag on.

KCK co-chairman Cemil Bayık told the Cumhuriyet daily:
“On one hand they appeal to the nationalists, and on the other they provoke us, agitate the people and virtually push us to the limit, forcing us to leave the table… If we leave the table they will say, ‘We wanted to solve the issue. We showed patience, but the PKK didn’t want a solution and insisted on fighting. They didn’t agree to peace. They only think of waging wars.’ They will try to justify their position and turn it into votes. That’s their scheme.”

Add to that the ANAR and Konsensus polls that the HDP votes are stuck in the 7-9 percent range.

Do you see the cunning plot of the AKP government hidden in the game?

About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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