I would like to share an anecdote first.
While the HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) delegation was meeting with Abdullah Öcalan, Öcalan said, “I believe he will have a lot of impact on the process” with regard to Hatip Dicle, a new member of the delegation.
Öcalan has been full of praise for Hatip Dicle for a while now due to his determined stance on the reconciliation process.
The inclusion of Dicle in the delegation going to İmralı (the prison island where Öcalan is serving a life sentence) was beneficial in this aspect.
Hatip Dicle is someone who has paid the price of his convictions. He was taken from parliament and thrown into prison.
The discontinuation of the reconciliation process due to the sabotage in Oslo had led to the hunger strike until death in prisons, which reached a critical level. Öcalan had written to then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan seeking his intervention. Following Erdoğan’s positive stance, Öcalan had issued instructions for the hunger strikes until death to end and promised a new reconciliation process. Hatip Dicle stood by Öcalan at the time and displayed his determination when he had said, “the leadership has the right perspective. We need to support it.”
Hatip Dicle maintained the same stance as Öcalan right through the Gezi process and the coup attempts of Dec. 17 and 25.
That is why it was important that he took his place among the first delegation to visit İmralı in the wake of the Oct. 6-8 events, which resembled a tank crushing the reconciliation process under its treads.
Meanwhile, a critical threshold in the reconciliation process was passed yesterday.
I am talking about the statement released following the HDP delegation’s meeting with Öcalan.
But first I want to mention the climate that prevailed in Ankara before the HDP delegation visited the island. We were under the impression that the security crisis experienced during the events of Oct. 6-8 had been overcome and that the process would continue from where it had left off after meetings with Öcalan were resumed.
I had asked Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan about this and he said, “The visit is important but what matters more is the statement that will be issued following the visit. The stage has not yet been reached where the reconciliation process can be discussed. We will decide on the basis of the stance displayed there.”
In one sense, this visit was to test Öcalan. It seems like the test was successfully passed. Deputy Prime Minister Akdoğan said, “At the moment the train is on track again.”
Let’s come to the statement released about the reconciliation process, and the leaks in regard to the backdrop of the meeting with Öcalan…
The reconciliation process rose from its ashes like a phoenix in the wake of the Oct. 6-8 sabotage.
A leading figure in the AK Parti (Justice and Development Party) had even said, “I am opposed to the reconciliation process from now on” during the party’s Afyon convention. There were those who said, “You spoiled the PKK by mentioning a solution and this is what happened” during President Erdoğan’s visit to Bayburt and Gümüşhane. The reconciliation process was seriously hanging in the balance. We managed to reach the point we are at today from the days when Qandil (the mountain base of the PKK in northern Iraq), Cemil Bayık and Aysel Tuğluk were blowing on the trumpets of war, and people were getting their heads smashed by rocks in the streets of Diyarbakır.
It is in this context that it is important that the ground was laid yet again for the reconciliation process; that the train was put back on track; and the wobbling legs of the table where talks are being held were fixed.
Meanwhile, the statements made by Mustafa Karasu -- a PKK administrator and someone who is still trying to do his best to sabotage the reconciliation process -- that a minister from the AK Parti literally pleaded with him that nothing untoward happens during the Kobane events (he means the events of Oct. 6-8) are complete distortions and lies…
I don’t know if any other minister spoke with them but I do know that Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan, who is in charge of the reconciliation process, spoke with members of the HDP on that critical evening. I asked Akdoğan and he confirmed that he had spoken with them. Akdoğan says that, on the contrary, rather than resorting to such underhanded measures, he said the state was willing to sacrifice everything if these events were not forestalled. In his own words: “I emphasized determination. I said the state is determined on the subject of assuring the safety of its citizens and establishing public authority. I did not request them to implement public order. Because it is the state which will establish public order, not them. I explained that the state is determined to establish public order. I asked them to withdraw from the streets. I said the state will do what it has to do regardless of the price.”
On that same night, Akdoğan said “absolutely not” in response to a HDP request for time until 0400 in the morning. He informed them that the state would deploy its military, police and everything at its disposal regardless of the cost, to prevent such an action. Forget being underhanded, we will “squash everything under our feet,” he says.
Either the HDP misinformed Qandil, which I don’t believe. It is a delegation that is aware of its responsibility. Or Karasu is deliberately being misleading to poison the process.
I wanted to share this conversation first hand.
When it comes to the statement issued after the meeting in İmralı, it could be said that the reconciliation process has received a new boost.
Öcalan’s assessments are important in this regard.
1-Öcalan states that he is in agreement about a framework through which negotiations can be held with a state delegation. He says the road map will be shared with the public shortly.
2-Öcalan also provides a timetable. It is important that a stage has been reached where a timetable can be provided despite everything that was done to destroy the reconciliation process and all that was experienced.
February and March appears to be the time marked in Öcalan’s timetable. If the process proceeds at pace, we might see a statement about the end of the PKK’s activities in Turkey toward the end of February or early March.
The reconciliation process had started on March 21, 2013 during Nevruz and Öcalan’s statement was read out in Diyarbakır that stated it was now time for political struggle and not armed struggle.
If the reconciliation process is not exposed to a bigger act of sabotage, the threat of which exists, then we might be witness to a statement from Öcalan on March 21, 2015 that the PKK has ended its armed struggle in Turkey.
Let’s get to a very important detail of the İmralı visit. The observer issue.
Cemil Bayık had announced that the United States might become an observer. What does Öcalan think of this? Based on the information I was able to gather, Öcalan is opposed to the United States as an observer. The following quote is attributed to him: “This was tried in Oslo. The result of that was seen.”
Öcalan’s approach of an observer being a national observer and seeking to establish a monitoring committee as soon as possible is important.