The reconciliation process, undertaken in regard with the Kurdish issue, and the Alevi initiative, are not just limited to Turkey’s inward search for calm. They are also not just limited to the narrowing of the space available to regional conflicts and the prevention of identity-based crises. They are related to reversing the winds of dissolution, division, and disintegration generated by the traditional forces of global intervention and which have been exported to Turkey and the region for the past century.
An essential struggle is being waged and its aim is to change the course of the history that has prevailed for a century. Because as long as we are not saved from these consecutive waves of disintegration and division, and the direction of this wind is not reversed; no country, society, ethnic group or member of any sect, will be able to find calm in these lands. This applies to Turkey and all other countries in the region.
The scenarios of crisis based on ethnic identity or sectarian identity have never been focused on bringing freedom, welfare and calm to the residents of the region. These clashes are all linked to global calculations of power, and the continuation in this century of the scenarios of the 20th century intended to keep the region under control.
We are yet again confronted with the acts of dividing the spoils that we experienced at the start of the 20th century. It is the very same identities making the same calculations they made while dividing up the region back then, who are now carrying out ploy after ploy in the region. Strategies based on exploiting weaknesses are dragging the region even further into crises that divide, shrink and embroil it in irretrievable situations.
THE REGIONALIZATION OF SECTARIAN WAR
This struggle being carried out by Turkey is directed at reducing these areas of weakness and reversing these winds to prevent shrinkage and disintegration. Actually this struggle is not Turkey’s alone. This poses the primary threat to every country in the region. Ethnic-based disintegration, religious and sectarian wars are destroying us everywhere, ranging from North Africa to South Asia. Each passing day these clashes are being fueled even more. While these clashes were confined to narrow zones in the past, they now take place between countries. The regionalization of these clashes seems inevitable if it continues in this vein.
That is why we term these actions as reversing the course of history. That is why we talk about changing the direction of that destructive wind, which has been blowing for a century. Unlike the beginning of the 20th century, we are not exhausted, demoralized and hopeless this time. The conditions that led to destruction back then, have been transformed into a climate suitable for rising up now. It is in our hands to utilize our ability and make use of this climate. We are now equipped with the mindset and have the hope required to do this.
We are discovering our own realities, weaknesses and solutions as the power-sharing map of the 20th century changes, as we reconcile with the past, as we rediscover ourselves and our environs, and as we take heed of this mindset. We come to our senses as we keep on discovering these things and realize that the problems presented to us are not actually our problems, and the crises we face are not actually our crises. We realize that we share a common language with all the different ethnic and sectarian identities that we live alongside with, and that we have experienced the same past, and that we can come to an understanding by talking amongst each other.
THE ALEVI ISSUE REPLACES THE KURDISH ISSUE AT THE FORE
A century has passed living with poverty, economic crises, political shocks and ethnic clashes. These days as ethnic clashes abate they have been substituted with sectarian crises. The sectarian crisis was brought into play as soon as the reconciliation process started showing signs of success with regard to the Kurdish issue, which has occupied our agenda for decades. The Alevi issue has started taking the place of the Kurdish issue.
The reason that no progress was made on the PKK issue for years was that Turkey and the Kurds were not taking the initiative. Both Turkey and the Kurds became incapable of handling the crisis, and other actors become the determining factors. We were able to make progress because, maybe for the first time, we succeeded in speaking in our own language directly with each other, and limited the impact of third parties.
At precisely this point, the Alevi issue was placed in front of Turkey. In all probability, groups and circles managed by Western intelligence services were called into action and the Gezi events were transformed into an Alevi rebellion. The scenario was a familiar one and the methods were known. The aim was to drag Turkey into a brand new internal conflict. Alevi organizations were nourished instead of the PKK and it was from deep within Europe that the strings were being pulled this time.
It was not just in Turkey, but in the entire region, including Afghanistan and Lebanon, that the activity commenced of establishing sectarian-based fronts, which are more destructive, more widespread and longer lasting. The aim was to divide the region into two camps strongly opposed to each other. This was because it was known that such polarization would render the region we live in captive for another century.
THE PKK AND THE SECTARIAN REFLEX
Sectarian conflicts proved far more destructive in Iraq compared to the occupation. The Syrian war was also turning into a sectarian war. The Shia populations of the Gulf countries sprung into action. The Shia population in the eastern regions of Saudi Arabia was awoken. The same occurred in Yemen. Lebanon was already trying to stay on its feet as a very fragile country.
The period when the substitution of the Kurdish issue with the Alevi issue was sought in Turkey completely overlaps with the period of the regionalization of the sectarian crisis. Even worse, the PKK, which engaged in ethnic-based clashes for years, was quickly transformed into an Alevi organization and is being dragged toward becoming a structure that moves on the basis of sectarian concerns rather than ethnic concerns. To an extent, the resistance within the PKK to the reconciliation process stems from this. The new project of disintegration that Turkey has had to encounter is further fuelled by the transforming of the PKK.
None of the countries and regions I mentioned above has the will or the strength to oppose this dissolution. Furthermore, these countries and regions have succumbed to new clash-inducing projects. They are experiencing extreme misfortune and political blindness by viewing these developments as political gains.
It is just Turkey that is trying to change the direction of these winds both domestically and in the region, and is trying to reverse these scenarios of disintegration into scenarios of unity. The political intellect that experienced a major dissolution at the beginning of the 20th century is the only intellect that can comprehend the difficulty of this historic transformation and the opportunity that it presents. It proceeds on this path with a great sense of responsibility and is trying to change the region’s fate. This situation leaves it open to attacks from all fronts.
GEZI, DEC. 17, AND ISIL ALL DIRECTED TOWARD THE SAME GOAL
It is strange that behind both the Gezi events and the Dec. 17 intervention, the psychological basis was a strong motivation to transform them into sectarian-based clashes. Iran was presented as the primary threat to the cadres of the community. (The Fethullah Gülen-led community). They sought to exploit the motivation of the Alevis during Gezi, and that of the Sunnis during Dec. 17. In essence there is actually no difference at all between these two examples and the ISIL discourse. While ISIL conducted sectarian-based warfare with a cruder form of discourse and crueler actions, the others were fueling the same disintegration scenario in another format.
There was no difference between ISIL’s emphasis on the Safavids and the emphasis on Safavids during the Dec. 17 process. The emphasis on Alevis during Gezi was no different from the Sunni emphasis by the Syrian administration and Al-Maliki’s Iraq.
TRANSPORTING THE BATTLE OF ÇALDIRAN TO THE PRESENT
All these instances provide us with clues that these are all reflections of designs on the region on a global level. They all portend plans for a sectarian war, which will spread through the region and lead to a regional split and the formation of blocs.
Herein lies the significance behind citing Turkey’s reconciliation process as “the sole example and model across the globe.” I believe that the Alevi initiative will also be the sole positive development directed at the entire region. In reality, both these processes bear the characteristic of steps that will not only prevent us from losing in the 21st century but, quite the opposite, will transform it into a century of constructing the future.
Allowing some to bring back the Battle of Çaldıran to our time, and to make the entire region experience another Çaldıran, would mean leaving in ruins everything that remains standing in Turkey and in our environs.
They have discovered something far more destructive than ethnic conflicts and are using it to the utmost. We, on the other hand, have discovered our common history, wealth and language.
Do not forget that this is the only way that Turks, Arabs, Kurds and Iranians will be saved. It is also what will save the Sunnis and Alevis from experiencing another 20th century.