The optimistic and calm period that began with the announcement of the reconciliation process has suddenly given way to one engulfed in flames and filled with bloodshed. The optimistic and calm period was one where the left-liberal-nationalist alliance heralded “peaceful” politics. I am afraid that we will be forced to talk a lot more about why and how we got to this point and the potential outcomes of this situation. It will probably continue with new calls being issued.
Whatever the outcome of the Oct. 6-7 events -- already seen as a candidate for a new dawn – the two intended outcomes have a direct link to the past. In short, the two intended outcomes were to target perceptions regarding the state’s approach toward Syria, particularly the Kobane issue, and religious/Islamic indicators through ISIL.
It is necessary to properly analyze these events that exceeded mere vandalism and suddenly resulted in an eruption of rage that involved mass slaughter and lynching. It is necessary to analyze how it occurred and who was directing events and what fed this ideological hatred and emotional snapping. It is not a situation that allows for keeping silent and letting pass how this rage and hatred was fed and how it was legitimized.
It is essential that a calm analysis be conducted about how the rapprochement that started with the reconciliation process is evolving and what the call to an uprising and its consequences -- made by a structure stuck between choosing a political path or being an armed organization -- correspond to politically. However, equating all Kurds with the perpetrators in the field, particularly with a structure that is associated with a blood-filled report card for the past 30 years, will create serious problems in the future.
Putting aside whether the capability exists to continue recent events, it is clear that the expectations that arose from normalization have already been sabotaged.
There are plenty of clues available that lead one to think that the aim was to sever the sense of belonging that the Kurdish population, with its different societal structure and lifestyle, had with other parts of the country. It can be seen that a strategy has been adopted by all nationalist Kurdish movements to try to sever all the deep ties, or at least ties on an emotional level, between the country and the Kurds by guiding their reactions to the policies of the state.
They are trying to implement this by initially aiming for the creation of a secular nationalist platform before considering one based on region and political ethnicity. All types of nationalism will result in the creating of an “other.” Rather than rejecting Turkish nationalism and adopting a Kurdish identity, the agenda consists of aiming to create the inverse of secular Turkish nationalism.
The modernist nationalists, stagnating in the last century, will try to keep alive the politics of crisis because they know that unless the sense of belonging and emotional ties are severed by a median rate of the Kurdish populace, it will not be possible to create a new identity. On the other hand, the policy of creating a perception that every concession gained was a result of armed resistance has been implemented right from the beginning.
Efforts are being made to create the exact opposite of the values and identities destroyed by official state policies, but based on similar ideological devices.
A second issue that came to the fore again during recent events and unfortunately is not spoken of much, but is perhaps the most important issue is: The targeting within the Kurdish populace itself of Islamic values, symbols and representation, which is deemed as the “other.” The necessity of interlocution with the armed structure during the reconciliation process cannot be denied, at least to stop the bloodshed. Because it was required to get rid of the atmosphere enabling the hostage taking of not just Kurds, but the entire country, by the organization that was part of the armed conflict and its political extensions.
It was at precisely this point when the optimistic and calm atmosphere created as a result of the reconciliation process prevailed, that a clash against the “others” was sought. The “others” were the Kurds left out of the equation. Public opinion forgot that accepting the organizational structure as an interlocutor during the reconciliation process and sitting with it at the negotiations table was just one pillar, albeit an important one, but not the only one in the search for a resolution. The organization was literally elevated to the position of being the sole representative and determining factor for the Kurds. Within such a framework, some channels made deliberate use of the Kurdish representation cut off from it Muslim ties and problems. Ironically, due to the emotional severing of links, even the Muslim Kurds who displayed sensitivity to their being Muslim were inducted into the creation of a secular nationalist mass resulting in a new dimension for that action. It would prove beneficial to reread the Zıya Gökalp peace text in this light.
The Kurdish issue, which has become gangrenous over the years, does not just consist of ethnic estrangement but also includes problems interlinked to the general problems of the country. The Kurdish issue is also not independent of the state’s examination regarding Muslims.
There are plenty of facts that verify a strategic move to alter perceptions with the intention of severing the emotional bonds of the entire country with religion. Attempts were made to make institutions and people connected to religion the target of the recent rage and rancor, by using ISIL as an excuse.
We are now faced with the problem of rendering the Kurds hostage to secular nationalism as a result of the very primitive politics of an organization during a period where signs were emerging that primitive nation state politics were being abandoned as part of the reconciliation process.
When conservative politics combines with the state and official ideology, Kurdish institutions, communities and traditional authority figures that display religious sensitivity are marked as targets by the organization.
By allowing the Muslim Kurdish populace to be secularized through steps that provide the opportunity for them to be pumped up with hatred and bloodshed, will not only damage the reconciliation process but will also result in the defining as the “other” of Muslims in this country.
Those who believe that Muslim Kurds can be turned into secular nationalists by creating a new identity for them will try to put Islamic representations out of the loop and make them the “other” … The reconciliation process might be an important stage with regard to Kurdish policy, however, it should also not be permitted that all Kurds are rendered hostage.