BDP may prove worse than DTP

“Given the current state of affairs, it is essential that the party which will replace the Democratic Society Party (DTP) stop being a satellite of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), develop its own personality and be established with greater participation to the highest extent possible and review its discourse, actions, attitudes and behaviors. The deputies of the DTP should be able to keep themselves within Parliament and democracy in their new parties.” (Açık Görüş, Dec. 20). 

 
                             
 
The above views belong to Yalkçın Akdoğan, who, while being the chief adviser to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is known to be closer to him than a chief adviser and who may be considered one of the architects of the initiative process.
Akdoğan has the dual advantage of being able to view Turkish politics with a cool head thanks to his academic qualities and being able to watch the developments as an insider. Therefore, his impressions and observations are important.

The abovementioned views of Akdoğan tell us that the initiative faces a stalemate that ultimately rests on the “addressee” issue.

If the implementers of the initiative think that the continuation of the process is dependent upon whether the newly established Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) will stop being a “satellite of the PKK,” then we should not invest much hope in the future of the initiative. The call on the BDP, which has been marketed as a backup party for the DTP, to stop being a satellite of the PKK will be nothing but wishful thinking.

The DTP-BDP line believes that the state is dependent on and in fact confined to itself in order to continue to implement the initiative. Actually, they are not totally wrong in thinking this way. If the government cannot accept PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan as an addressee, then it should have another agent as its addressee. And saying, “Our addressee is the nation” has no practical meaning. Thus, the DTP-BDP line, which was not good mannered about the process back at the beginning, can continue to assert the government’s reliance on them in a spoiled manner. At a time when there are a multitude of comments in the state and in the press that “the Constitutional Court did wrong by closing down the DTP,” there is nothing more natural than the DTP-BDP line getting out of control.

It is for the same reason that I believe that the real threat to the initiative has just emerged. DTP members have shown that their real goal is not the solution of the Kurdish issue and that their primary concern is to promote the organization and its leader and that they will insistently maintain this policy of theirs.

They regard the democratic initiative process as an opportunity to legitimize the PKK and Öcalan. The criticisms voiced by the Turkish state and the Turkish intelligentsia against the Constitutional Court’s decision to close down the DTP have re-energized them. The new party will more saliently become Öcalan’s party and receive instructions from him. Better the devil you know, and I think that the state will rue the absence of the DTP in the future.

See what Ahmet Türk said while announcing that they decided not to resign from Parliament: “Distinguished Öcalan, too, thinks that it is wrong to abandon the parliamentary setting and that the struggle should be maintained in this way. This is what he conveyed to his lawyers. They conveyed it to us.” Moreover, Selahattin Demirtaş said to the Taraf newspaper, “Of course, one of the factors that was influential in our decision to stay in Parliament was Öcalan’s call to do so.” Each of these statements is clear evidence for a new closure case.

This is the first time they are publicly making such strong references to Öcalan. Can we describe these statements as well intentioned in such a fragile atmosphere for the progress of the process? I think the DTP-PKK line is missing this process, which is the most important democratization move in Turkey.

In short, I personally cannot be sure whether the DTP’s decision to maintain its parliamentary existence in the form of the BDP is an opportunity for the progress of the process. This decision seems to me like the start of more traumatic turbulence.

The government and the state had intended to see the DTP as a party or a partner in the initiative process. They even saw İmralı as a partner that could be pushed to the edge of, not outside, the process. This was in essence an opportunity for Öcalan. But Kurds openly abused it. “We do not exist, but Öcalan does. And he orders, and we comply,” they said.

There is not much data at hand foretelling a good future for the process. At least, this is how things are seen today. 
 
26 December 2009, Saturday 
GÜRKAN ZENGİN

OPINION