Wednesday, 11 June 2014

What the Columnists Say

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The future of the Kurdish peace process has become cause for concern after the violent clashes in Lice between Kurdish demonstrators and police and after a Kurdish militant brought down the Turkish flag on a military base in Diyarbakır. Mustafa Akyol in pro-government Star invites the Kurdish nationalists to make up their minds about whether or not they intend to remain part of Turkey.  Ali Bayramoğlu in similarly pro-government Yeni Şafak argues that it is necessary to give Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the PKK, more freedom of action and to make him the interlocutor of the peace negotiations, in order to bring down tensions.

AKYOL: THE KURDISH NATIONALISTS NEED TO MAKE A DECISION ABOUT THEIR ULTIMATE GOAL

http://haber.stargazete.com/yazar/bayrak-ve-baris/yazi-894292

Mustafa Akyol in Star describes the lowering of the Turkish flag in the military base in Diyarbakır as an ugly insult to the whole nation. However, I don’t think that it would have been right to shoot the militant who pulled down the flag. On the contrary, I find the attitude of the General Staff, which avoided bloodshed and that also pointed out that the militant was “a child,” to be responsible. Moreover, this is a sociological issue that requires us to meditate on both the integrity of Turkey and on the future of the “peace process.” The message of Abdullah Öcalan in response to the flag incident gives pause for thought, even though it was calming and condemned the “provocation.”  This is what Öcalan said: “We have never taken a demeaning, insulting stance to the national values and symbols of any nation whatsoever.” But do the same “national values and symbols” also belong to the Kurds as well? In fact, the Kurdish nationalists need to make a historical decision: Is it their goal to remain part of a “rainbow nation?” Or is it to constitute a separate nation? If their goal is the former, then they should be able to say “That flag is also our flag.” Then we’d know that what they aim at with the peace process is not a separation in the long run, but integration within a framework of pluralism.

AKDOĞAN: THOSE BEHIND THE FLAG TREASON DISCARD ÖCALAN’S APPEAL AGAINST PROVOCATIONS

http://haber.stargazete.com/yazar/anarsist-seviciler/yazi-893763

Yalçın Akdoğan in Star accuses the hawkish representatives of the Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) of making provocative, hawkish statements that target the architect of the peace process, Prime Minister Erdoğan, and which lead to an escalation of tensions. What kind of a democratic action is it to attack a military installation and pull down the flag? How could those who are responsible for this act – which aims at blowing up at the popular support for the peace process – be viewed as being on the side of peace? The incidents in Lice and the flag treason cannot amount to anything else but to a discarding of Öcalan’s appeal “don’t let yourself to be provoked.”

BAYRAMOĞLU: MAKING ÖCALAN THE INTERLOCUTOR OF THE PEACE TALKS IS NECESSARY IN ORDER TO DE-ESCALATE THE TENSION

http://yenisafak.com.tr/yazarlar/AliBayramoglu/liceden-istanbula-neler-oluyor/54250

Ali Bayramoğlu in Yeni Şafak writes that the there are both hopeful signs and at the same time signs of escalating tensions regarding the Kurdish issue. It is a naked truth that the peace process is on a new track and that the negotiations have intensified. The facts that the team (from the Kurdish party) that talks with Öcalan is also involved in talks with the negotiating team of the state that consists of three cabinet ministers, the positive declarations of Öcalan, and the statements of Deputy Prime Minister Atalay that announce a new era cannot be discarded. On the other hand, there is tension and partial violence. The harsh statements that are made by The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and by the organization (PKK) and which threaten the peace process point toward a totally different picture. What’s now expected is that Öcalan becomes involved and that there is a de-escalation of the tension.  As a firsts step toward this, maybe after the presidential election, Öcalan’s room of action should be enlarged, enabling him to be in touch with the outside world, with the Kurds, and pursue the negotiations with him.

SİRMEN: KILIÇDAROĞLU’S WOOZY KURDISH POLICIES ARE THE REASON WHY ÖCALAN SEES NO OTHER ALTERNATIVE THAN ERDOGAN

http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/koseyazisi/80887/Catismasizlik_Hali_Sona_mi_Eriyor_.html

Ali Sirmen in Cumhuriyet writes that Öcalan and the movement for ”Democratic autonomy” still see Erdoğan as the only alternative. As they see it, only Erdoğan is going to make possible a solution based on ethnicity; therefore the votes are naturally going to be cast for him. What makes Tayyip Bey appear as the only alternative for Öcalan and his supporters is not so much attributable to his person, as to the other leaders. In fact, the natural party to the offer a solution for the Kurdish problem could have been the CHP. It could have been so, but unfortunately this is not the case. This is so because Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has more hesitations than a solution regarding the Kurdish issue in his head; he has not been able to present anything concrete in the way of a solution, he constantly dithers and he is mute when he should speak. So Kılıçdaroğlu is not the address of a solution.  Moreover, because he does not have anything well thought out in his mind, one may fear that Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is now going to forfeit also some of the non-Kurdish votes as well when he now – in line with his woozy policies so far – says that “We are claiming the Kurdish vote.”

TAŞKIN: THE OPPOSITION NEEDS TO FOIL THE AKP’S ANGER POLICIES

http://www.taraf.com.tr/yazilar/yuksel-taskin/ofke-siyasetinin-faydalari/29999/

Yüksel Taşkın in Taraf writes that Erdoğan continues to insult those sections of society from which the Gezi protests last year sprung. Erdoğan did so again when he spoke at the start of the building of the new airport in Istanbul. The reason why the representatives of the AKP intensify the policies of anger is because they want to make sure that their base remains immune to calls for showing mercy and justice. The message – “if you show pity you’ll end up in a pitiful situation” – intends to keep the base attached to the party leadership. What’s being said to ordinary AKP supporters is that “if we fall from power, we’ll not only forfeit our present wins, but you’ll also become the targets of the search for revenge.” This is precisely the game that the opposition needs to foil. The sections that support the AKP have acquired significant advantages in material terms, and they have also come to enjoy more rights and freedoms during the rule of the AKP. Therefore, the opposition needs to promise more rights and freedoms, alongside a vision about a prosperous and just Turkey. It should not be forgotten that the AKP’s anger policies aim at provoking especially the CHP to react with neo-nationalist impulses. The neo-nationalist reaction has for years served the AKP’s purposes well; it alienates both the pious and the Kurds from the opposition. By contrast, those who are able to build an alliance of democrats that embraces all sections of society and brings them together in a quite vision for Turkey in spite of the polarizing ruling party stand to foil this game.

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The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.

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