Last week, I went to Diyarbakır and Mardin. What I saw and heard in Sur deeply affected me. I spoke to people on the streets, in tea houses, workplaces, mosques and with official authorities. I realized we have come to a critical point.
Despite Turkey having dealt with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) issue for over 40 years, “the Kurdish issue, the terrorism issue, the PKK issue” or whatever we call it, has entered a new stage.
The PKK and the HDP are losing the people's support
The ditches, barricades and the occupied neighborhoods have made it into books as the PKK's biggest mistakes. When the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) turned to the PKK's wake, its political ship capsized in its eddy.
People who have had to leave their homes behind, tradesmen who have gone bankrupt and families who are unable to send their children to school are on the rise.
Yes, they cannot demonstrate on the streets or raise their voices. It is not easy to speak out when your neighbor is a PKK supporter who owns a Kalashnikov. You only see the truth when you get to speak to them in private while sipping your tea: The PKK is an organization that the people despise, and the people have started to hate the HDP too.
The Kurds are parting from the PKK/HDP, but...
I was in Diyarbakır's Bağlar neighborhood when the PKK made a call for a riot at 7 pm. There were only two horns tooting, a whistle blowing and a house turning its lights on and off. Diclekent, an office district, was all quiet. Not even the HDP provincial building participated in the movement. It was a total flop. The Metropolitan Municipality distributed whistles and ordered the people to blow them at 7 pm.
Thirty people joined the solidarity sit-in in front of the municipality building and drank smuggled tea. Only 45 workers from the parks and recreations department joined the “march to Sur” demonstration. In short, the call for riots are unanswered. The people are moving away from the HDP, but it is still early to say that they are turning to support the government, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) or any other party as yet.
They are scared that tomorrow they will have to face that PKK supporter neighbor who owns a Kalashnikov. It seemed like the people here were looking for a safe port. For this reason, everyone has to take responsibility.
The Master Plan will be tested on the ground
Politics and journalism are done on the field. Those who do not spend time on the streets, among the people, in the neighborhoods can never understand the issue. Besides, you could not trust the determinations of these people either. Our problem is having politicians, bureaucrats and journalists who do not get out of warm rooms, cafes and restaurants. You cannot fully understand the issue if you have not been to Diyarbakır, Sur and Cizre.
I moved on to Mardin to listen to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu's awaited speech on the Master Plan. He was applauded for his statements on the civilization perspective, Salahaddin and Alparslan. If only there was more time to talk about the Master Plan.
I find the detections in the Master Plan on point. They match up with the problems I saw on the ground. I have not seen the details of the plan yet. It looks good as a draft. An application draft will be done followed by the plan carried into effect on the ground.
It is time to go down to the ground
The issue here is how it will be applied on the ground. Many plans, projects, reports and packages have been announced until today. But some were not reflected onto the ground at all. The team working on the Master Plan has to see Sur , Cizre and Silopi. And when they do, they should not just visit the authorities and NGOs in the meeting rooms of hotels. They need to go down into the streets of the city. That is where the life is.
When you visit and speak to the police and soldiers on duty, you understand that they have a helmet, but it isn't steel, they have a steel vest but it is too heavy and old to carry. You can only see that construction equipment has been sent to the field, but there is no operator to use them.
The chance of a project being successful if it was planned by people who have not seen the field is very low. It is time to go down to the field, it is time to embrace the Kurds. It is time for the NGOs to build the “Ansar-Muhacir” line (people from Madina who helped the Muslims who migrated from Mecca). It is time for AK Party organizations to stop tweeting and visit the fields instead.