The reconciliation process was dealt a serious blow during the events of Oct. 6-8 that were carried out on the pretext of Kobane.
It was even thrown off course.
The questions that needs answering is this:
What direction is the process headed in?
I posed this same question to a cabinet minister.
“The process will move forward but not in a straight path,” he said.
The arrow is heading upward but might face occasional resistance since it is clearing a path.
I believe in the reconciliation process with all my heart. But I also believe that it would be wrong to evaluate the process through romantic optimism or by being a doomsayer.
I am one of those who know what the region experienced in the 1990s.
That is why I don’t find extremely pessimistic comments to be right. However, I am also aware that the process has regressed compared to two months and 10 days ago i.e. Sept. 1.
The process experienced a crisis.
But this crisis didn’t bring the process to an end like other crises had done to previous processes. It is good that the process has been bought into by the public to such an extent that participation in the rehearsal for an uprising carried out in 28 populated areas failed to meet the expectations of those in Qandil. (The mountain base of the PKK in northern Iraq.) The reconciliation process also proved successful in overcoming the crisis. But damage has been incurred. No one mentions that the process will continue in the same manner as it did before Oct. 6-8. It will continue on a different plane.
This is because the government feels cheated.
Despite an agreement that had been reached on a “road map” to end violence and ensure public order with the Abdullah Öcalan-Qandil-HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) triumvirate, the HDP ignored Öcalan’s message sent through his brother Mehmet Öcalan on the second day of the Feast of the Sacrifice holiday and called for people to take to the streets, and Qandil issued instructions for armed attacks on previously determined passive targets. The “road map” was dealt a severe blow through these actions.
The basic framework of the road map discussed in September is as follows:
1-Violence will end. Public order will be established.
2-The withdrawal of forces will recommence.
3-An announcement will be made on Nevruz, March 21, 1015, that the armed struggle has come to an end and the political struggle has commenced.
4-A process of normalization will begin.
Normalization would include the reintegration into society of elements who had laid down arms.
The summary of that road map was, “No to weapons and violence. Yes to politics and dialogue.”
The road map had some finely detailed items:
1-The inclusion of new names in the HDP delegation that meets with Öcalan for instance.
In this regard Hatip Dicle is top of the list due to his stance during the hunger strikes until death in prisons, his determined stance alongside Öcalan during the reconciliation process, and his stance during the events of Oct. 6-8.
Dicle, who is co chair of the DTK (Democratic Society Congress), is a name who has paid the price for his struggle and was willing to be taken from parliament and put into prison for his thoughts. However, he adopted a clear stance with regard to the reconciliation process.
I will not add any comment to the next two points.
2-Replacing the convicts being housed in the same prison as Öcalan.
4-The choosing of members from the committee of wise men to act as supervisors and observers and play an “impartial” role.
Where do we find ourselves now?
Unfortunately we find ourselves at quite a distance from the road map that was agreed upon in September. The key to redressing this is for the region to return to its pre Oct. 6-8 state as soon as possible. Violence has to be abandoned and public order has to be established. HDP members have applied to visit İmralı. (The prison island where Öcalan is serving his life sentence.) But the political leadership wants to see action on the ground more than it wants promises. It seems like visits to İmralı will be postponed until palpable improvement is witnessed.
There are a few vital points involved. Ankara believes they are interlinked.
1-ISIL is a product of the laboratories of the United States and after it takes root in the heartland of the Assad regime, the opportunity will be created for it to spread in any direction within Iraq and Syria.
2-Attempts by the United States to promote relations between Assad and the PKK on the pretext of Kobane.
3-The igniting of the spark for the Oct. 6-8 events by Qandil despite the reconciliation process.
It believes that at the core of all this lies:
The general view prevalent is that one of the core factors behind these incidents is Turkey’s oil deals with the Arbil administration and the project to transfer Iraqi oil to the Mediterranean via Syria.
It is not possible to evaluate these processes in different contexts of time.
Turkey witnessed vital developments after the reconciliation process was initiated.
During Nevruz, March 21 2013, after Öcalan’s message of farewell to arms and the embracing of politics was announced in Diyarbakır, the “road map comprising three stages” was faced with its first impediment right at the first step. The withdrawal of forces had begun when the Gezi events erupted in Turkey. Qandil froze the withdrawal of forces to see whether the political leadership would remain in power or be ousted.
The coup attempts of Dec. 17-25 followed. Once again Qandil decided to wait and see if the AK Parti (Justice and Development Party) would remain in power or be ousted.
But the AK Parti rejuvenated its political power with the March 30 local elections and the Aug. 10 presidential elections. The AK Parti had come through serious existential struggles during these trials it faced.
After the president took up his post and Ahmet Davutoğlu formed his government, the first task the government set out to do was put the reconciliation process back on track.
A bill for a solution with six articles was passed into law in parliament.
The cabinet of ministers established two institutional pillars for a solution.
A “road map” was devised based on these actions. The response to this was the events of Oct. 6-8.
It looks like the United States has its own road map with Qandil and Qandil has its own road map with the United States.
Both Ankara and İmralı continue to display a strong will in support of the reconciliation process.
It is this will that will overcome this blockage being experienced.
It is a question of time but the crisis is being overcome.