Using banking terminology we could say the reconciliation process is undergoing a stress test.
Developments in Kobane and Qandil’s (the mountain base of the PKK in northern Iraq) colluding with the United States are among the primary factors negatively affecting the process.
The HDP’s (Peoples’ Democratic Party) poor performance during the Oct. 6-8 events can also be added to this list of factors.
However, in the view of the political leadership there is a determining point that is very important. This is the PKK establishing its authority in various cities by exploiting the atmosphere generated by the reconciliation process. This is the message being imparted to us through its attempt to establish public authority, a term that has been repeatedly mentioned.
It is an attempt by the PKK to become an authority in the region.
This situation leads to the asking of questions such as: did you abandon the area to the PKK when you said solution, or was your intention to allow the PKK to move to the cities from the mountains as part of a solution.
It seems like a move that will create a Turkish problem while attempting to solve the Kurdish problem.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that one of the most debated topics at the AK Parti’s (Justice and Development Party) camp in Afyon was the reconciliation process.
The displaying of a strong will by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu toward a solution despite all these undesirable events is beneficial.
The conclusion reached by Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç -- who is one of those responsible for the reconciliation process -- that “the process should continue despite everything. If the process collapses both the state and the HDP will be damaged” is important.
This country has been through periods when reconciliation processes have broken down. I don’t even want to think about those times. Terrorism and violence reappeared much stronger than before the breakdowns. Nobody dared mention a solution for long periods after that. The hell that Turkey went through in the 1990s after the process that was initiated by Turgut Özal collapsed in the wake of the Bingöl massacre says it all.
The events that occurred following the breakdown of the first reconciliation process during the AK Parti period remain fresh in our minds. Following the Silvan raid Turkey succumbed to a negative climate.
There was talk of stripping the immunity from prosecution of parliamentarians from the BDP (Peace and Democracy Party) and executing Abdullah Öcalan.
The warning issued by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is important. “I say there is a limit to patience. I do not want to consider, even in my mind, what could occur if that limit is exceeded.”
The reconciliation process is finely balanced at this juncture. We are at a stage where patience has been stretched to the very limit.
I want to expand on this a bit more.
The nerve endings are showing. They make one jump when touched.
Interior Minister Efkan Ala, who had become a symbol of a solution during his time as governor of Diyarbakır, explained very clearly the difficulties facing by the process. Efkan Ala’s conclusions are not anti-solution. Quite the opposite, if one were to prepare a list of those with the greatest input for the reconciliation process, Efkan Ala would be near the top of that list. But such things are not possible through romantic notions for a solution. It helps to be realistic.
I think one of the conclusions reached by Efkan Ala was very important. “The problem arises due to the PKK. We had reached an agreement in Oslo. The PKK reneged on Oslo.”
Efkan Ala ended his statements with, “we are determined to ensure public authority.”
Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan, who is responsible for the reconciliation process, stresses that the impression is beginning to be created that the PKK’s demands are being met through the reconciliation process. He says, “This is not true.”
At this stage it would be useful to undertake a damage assessment with regard to the reconciliation process.
It is at a stage where a parliamentarian who has held important positions within the party now says, “From this moment on I am opposed to the reconciliation process.”
In response, parliamentarians from the region said the reconciliation process has to be continued in some shape or form. They display a strong will to find a solution.
I am aware that I am painting a bleak picture. But this is the picture at the moment. The bleak atmosphere of the first day was replaced on the final day when firmer ground was reached during the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Davutoğlu. The prime minister displayed a strong will in favor of the reconciliation process. But he also warned about the topic of establishing public authority.
I am not sure if I was able to completely express the picture that emerged but it would be correct to say that a stage of “conditional negotiations” is underway.
There is a dark side to this as the same method was used against democracy during the Feb. 28 process, but a balancing act is being carried out in the wake of what was experienced.
Jonathan Powell, the architect of the IRA process who visited our country shortly after the reconciliation process had been initiated, had issued an important warning. “The gap should not be allowed to widen.”
The reconciliation process has lost time and been dealt blows as a result of Qandil’s seeing the Gezi events as an opportunity to stop the withdrawal of its members from Turkey; the lurking in ambush of the PKK administration during the coup attempts of Dec. 17-25 to see whether Erdoğan would be removed; and the call to violence under the pretext of Kobane.
Erdoğan and the AK Parti, whom they sought to topple through Gezi and shackle in chains with the coup attempts of Dec. 17 and 25, and both of whom rose from the ashes during the March 30 local elections and the Aug. 10 presidential elections, can be criticized for not being energetic enough about the process during this period. But the situation is clear for all to see. The AK Parti faced all sorts of trials and tribulations since Gezi. Despite this the reconciliation process was placed on legal footing for the first time. A road map was prepared by creating the institutional foundations for the reconciliation process.
Just when the laying down of arms in the first quarter of 2015 was being discussed, the earthquake of Oct. 6-8 struck.
It looks like the reconciliation process will continue to undergo a stress test for a while longer. A hopeful picture does not emerge when the reconciliation process was exposed to such a sharp turn in such a short time.
Despite all my reservations, what I was able to observe was that the reconciliation process is undergoing a stress test. However, belief in the process remains strong. I believe that the reconciliation process will pass this test as well. There is light at the end of the tunnel. I just hope it is not the headlamps of a truck hurtling toward us but the light of a solution at the end of the tunnel.