Turkey is preparing for the reconciliation process, whereas Qandil (the armed mountain base of the PKK in northern Iraq) is preparing for the post-resolution period.
That is what it looks like when one considers the situation after taking Cizre into consideration.
Looking at it through Ankara’s eyes shows that the political leadership is aware of this and is determined not to provide such an opportunity.
A stone called Cizre has become the stumbling block in front of the wheel called resolution.
For some reason Cizre reminds me of Fatsa prior to Sept. 12, 1980.
Süleyman Demirel was prime minister. The country was under martial law. He called then Chief of General Staff Kenan Evren. “There is a person called “Fikri the tailor” (Fikri Sönmez) in Fatsa. News is arriving that he has established local courts belonging to the organization and is conducting trials. Go to Fatsa and investigate; and conduct an operation with the Bolu Commando Brigade,” he had instructed.
Evren had replied, “Fatsa is a much forested area and there will be many casualties if I send soldiers there. I, too, was only able to fly over the area by helicopter. We will enter Fatsa in September when the trees shed their leaves.”
September came. Evren carried out a coup. The state, which couldn’t go to Fatsa on Sept. 11, wrested control of Fatsa on Sept. 12.
There are no similarities between Fatsa and Cizre. I only shared this to point out that it isn’t a place where the state can’t step foot in. In 1992 we saw headlines of “the state enters Cizre” following a few days of continuous clashes in Şırnak and Cizre.
The state had entered Cizre even in those conditions.
But did it remedy anything?
The state is not carrying out an operation with regard to Cizre today because it has opted to solve this problem via talks instead of resorting to tanks.
That is why the message of “either sort it out yourself or the state will sort it out. If we sort it out, don’t hide behind it” was delivered to the HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) at a midnight meeting.
The government is opting for the path of dialogue in order to not harm the reconciliation process; however, the possibility of it resorting to another language exists if the dialogue stops making sense.
Abdullah Öcalan is aware of this as well. For the first time he sent a message concerning a district. But Cizre’s response to Öcalan’s message was the sending of a 12-year-old child’s corpse. By adopting this stance, Cizre attempted to dent Öcalan’s aura.
The sabotage attempts against the reconciliation process in the past are common knowledge. The history of such attempts extends back to the Bingöl massacre, Oslo, Habur, the Paris assassination and the events of Oct. 6-8, 2014. This means that events in Cizre were foreseen.
In this aspect, the conclusion reached by Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan, who is in charge of the reconciliation process, that “a dark hand is at work in Cizre” is significant.
The issue at stake in Cizre is actually a specific trap set for the reconciliation process.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan maintained his strong will for the reconciliation process despite the Gezi events, the coup attempts of Dec. 17 and Dec. 25, 2013, and the elections of March 30 and Aug. 10, 2014. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who took over this task, is also expending effort to ensure the reconciliation process achieves its goal.
The will displayed by İmralı (the prison island where Öcalan is serving a life sentence) also needs to be stressed despite the toing and froing seen at the start of the Oct. 6-8 incidents.
Although it should be realized that Qandil has different plans regarding the reconciliation process.
The reconciliation process is proceeding along the grounds that the PKK will end armed activity in Turkey. The aim of the resolution was that the PKK would disband, Qandil would cease to be a terrorist camp, and that leaders of the organization would either cross into Turkey or go to another country. It was being said that instead of engaging in armed struggle in Qandil, they should conduct a political struggle in Ankara. Öcalan’s Nevruz message on March 21, 2013 that “weapons fall silent while ideas are expressed” fit the theme.
Although it cannot be said, for quite a while now, that the organization cease all armed activity, due to the civil war in Iraq and Syria and ISIL. We are at a stage where this can only be tried within Turkey. This does not entirely reflect what was envisaged at the beginning.
Despite this the reconciliation process is proceeding on the basis of “less talk and more action.” If it continues in the same vein, we might be witness to a statement by Öcalan this Nevruz on March 21 that the PKK has ended armed activity in Turkey. This would be a historic step; but will it provide a resolution in the full sense of the word? I have my doubts.
The PKK has managed to achieve a different status in the eyes of the United States and Europe, given the situation Iraq and Syria find themselves in and the fight against ISIL.
The PYD (Democratic Union Party) is not on the terrorist list despite the fact that it is known to be the PKK’s Syrian arm. The PKK, though, is on the terrorist list. At this stage the PKK itself has started to become a hindrance to the PKK movement. An announcement by the PKK that it has ended its armed struggle will mean that it will be removed from the terrorist list and will have wiped away the blood on its hands from before. On top of all this, Western countries will deem it a freedom-seeking Kurdish movement fighting against structures like ISIL and Al-Qaeda that pose a threat to the United States and Europe.
It seems like the PKK is preparing for this. There will be a resolution and it will be removed from the terrorist list. There will be a resolution but it will have simultaneously protected its cadres. They will shut down the PKK and proceed as the PYD.
In Turkey, it is implementing the strategy of attempting to become a regional authority. The insistence on Cizre reflects this. This is behind the strengthening of its urban structure, the YDGH (Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement), while the disbanding of the PKK in on the agenda.
But this is not the resolution that was envisaged.
There are two serious impediments to a resolution:
1. The PKK is not ending its armed struggle. It is laying down arms in Turkey and withdrawing its cadres to Syria and Iraq.
2. It is not dissolving its urban structure. On the contrary, it is strengthening it.
By doing this it continues to pursue its goals of autonomy and of becoming a regional authority.
The conclusion reached by Hüseyin Yaman, an academic and author, and other opinion leaders, that “the PKK is now doing what the state did in the past” is very important.
But the aim of the resolution is not to see those it brings down from the mountains made into local authority figures.
I don’t expect sincerity from the PKK. I won’t be that naïve to pose a sincerity test to the PKK.
But this contravenes the spirit of a resolution. Those who believe in a resolution did not make sacrifices so that the PKK attains these goals it has set itself.
The PKK needs to make a choice in this regard.
Resolution or armed conflict? I think the PKK has made its choice. While engaging in the reconciliation process on the one hand, it is preparing for the post-resolution period on the other.