Tony Blair called U.S. President Clinton and told him that an agreement had been reached with the IRA.
Members of the media reported that an agreement had been reached.
News agencies were breaking the news that an agreement had been reached with the IRA when a crisis broke out.
The source of the crisis was the dialect “Ulster Scots.”
Blair called Clinton again and asked him to intervene.
Finally an agreement was reached and that day was called “Good Friday.”
Despite an agreement being reached, a group from within the IRA killed 29 people on Aug. 15, 1998, carrying out the “Bloody Sunday” incident.
Blair’s description of that moment is: “We were in a position where we had to make a choice. Either we had to lift our hands in horror and say ‘these guys will never make peace’ or we had to cite the horror as a reason and say ‘these guys want to put an end to the peace process but our reply will be to accelerate it and take it further.’”
They chose the second option.
We too, during talks with the PKK, have at times been faced with stark choices.
But on each occasion both sides have chosen the option of war.
What was the result?
The United Kingdom solved its IRA problem but we haven’t solved ours.
The incidents of Oct. 6-8 that occurred under the pretext of Kobane once again brought us to a point where we have to decide whether to end or continue with the reconciliation process.
Without answering this question I want to continue with the example of South Africa.
It wasn’t easy to attain peace in South Africa. The Whites opposed to a solution accused De Klerk of betrayal, and some Blacks despite wanting a solution found Mandela to be concessionary.
An unexpected event occurred when peace was close to being attained in South Africa. The Whites took up arms this time. They carried out assassinations and acts of sabotage.
Peace was achieved in South Africa despite everything that went on.
The same South Africans then gave a standing ovation for De Klerk and Mandela.
Over here steps were taken a few times, the first was during Turgut Özal’s tenure, to start a reconciliation process.
In 1993, Öcalan announced a unilateral ceasefire following a call issued by Özal and the mediation of Jalal Talabani.
A State that until that moment was used to trying to achieve results by “thrashing the bandits,” “raining down bombs with the iron eagles of the Turks,” and “executing the brigand” would for the first time try to attain peace through a reconciliation process.
It failed though.
During the ceasefire, at a time when negotiations for peace were about to commence, 33 privates were martyred in Bingöl.
At that time Özal and Öcalan did not adopt the stance that Blair had adopted by insisting on a “Good Friday” despite the “Bloody Sunday.”
Özal did not have complete control over the State. The “deep state,” which pulled the strings of the State, was against a solution and ready for war.
The war drums began beating on both sides.
Turkey was thrown into the hell of the 1990s that arose from the Feb. 28 process. First Özal and then those cadres that supported a solution alongside Özal were purged from the state apparatus.
Based on figures provided by former Chief of General Staff İlker Başbuğ, we entered a period of bloody conflict that cost 6,000 lives every year.
The period when the PKK stopped carrying out attacks that began after the handing over of Öcalan to us by the United States ended in 2004.
Based on the expression used by Doğan Güreş, “low intensity conflict” started anew.
The 1st reconciliation process began in 2009-2010 as a result of the political will displayed by Erdoğan and the efforts of MİT (National Intelligence Organization) Undersecretaries Emre Taner and Hakan Fidan.
This was until the Oslo process. The Habur events followed Oslo and then finally the Silvan massacre, similar to the one in Bingöl, took place.
Once again peace was put on the backburner and we embraced our weapons. Once again we lost thousands of our people.
War brought war.
In the end we once again realized that this path will lead to a dead end.
With Erdoğan as its architect, and Öcalan being brought into the equation, the reconciliation process was restarted.
The process that was not impeded by the Paris assassination incurred a deep wound with the Oct. 6-8 attempt where 38 people lost their lives.
Just as it was the case during the Bingöl massacre and the Silvan attack, the “deep PKK” took the stage again. Three of our soldiers were martyred in Yüksekova to ensure the failure of the reconciliation process.
Qandil (the PKK’s mountain base in northern Iraq) deployed its urban and youth wings in the Oct. 6-8 events and in Yüksekova.
The HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) was taken out of the equation.
The reconciliation process was dealt another blow.
Despite this, rather than discarding the reconciliation process and transforming the entire country into hell, we should say “a solution if only to spite you” and “peace if only to spite you.”
Once again we approach a decisive moment.
Jonathan Powell, one of the architects of peace with the IRA, had said, “What matters is to keep pedaling.”
Yes, we continue to pedal to stop the bicycle from falling over. It is in the nature of such events that such crises will be experienced from time to time. However, the same Powell also said the “gap shouldn’t widen” and a long time should not elapse.
Unfortunately the gap is widening and long periods of time are entering the gap.
The reconciliation process needs leadership once again. We were very close to attaining peace on occasion but each time we opted for war. It is clear where that has brought us. Once again peace is within reach. This time we don’t have the luxury of failure. History only applauds the architects of peace.