Saturday, October 17, 2009

SPECIAL: Journey to Peace: How have we come to this point?

Submitted by Tsiatsan on Saturday, October 17 2009
güncel Kurdish Info 17.10.2009- The Kurdish Freedom Movement created the basis for current developments back in March of this year by taking various steps. Firstly the movement announced a ceasefire in 13th of April. The intention behind the ceasefire was to ensure the local elections and the Newroz celebrations could go ahead in a peaceful environment. This also had a positive effect on the success of the Kurds in the ballot box.
The KCK continued this stance to steer the process towards a peaceful solution. It later announced that its ceasefire would be extended till the 1st of June. The forces would only defend themselves if they were attacked. This decision was later extended till the 15th of July.

However, after calls from various arenas towards the KCK to extend its decision even further the decision was made, and the ceasefire was extended once again till the 1st of September.

However, after these extensions, democratic circles in Turkey made their voices heard even louder and as a result the KCK’s latest statement made on the 29th of September confirmed that it would extend its decision once again for an undetermined period while it would analyse the situation till a further announcement.

The most significant influence on these developments was the roadmap for peace prepared by the Leader of the Kurdish people, Abdullah Ocalan. The roadmap for peace was handed over to the authorities by Abdullah Ocalan on the 20th of August.

The KCK immediately announced that it would accept the roadmap for peace without exception. The steps taken by the Kurdish freedom movement forced the Turkish state into taking its own steps. Signs of movement from the state began in May after analysing the voting behaviour of the Kurdish people at the local elections.

The ‘Kurdish Problem’ became the most talked about topic in Turkey after journalist Hasan Cemal’s interview with Murat Karayilan, the Chair of the Executive Council of the KCK. In this interview, topics that were previously treated as taboos were openly discussed. For the first time the dispute was being debated by both sides.

In June at the National Security Council (MGK), the Prime Minister of Turkey announced a project which would be coordinated by home secretary Besir Atalay. Before long, Atalay began a series of meetings with civil organizations and political parties. Atalay also met with the DTP for the first time.

In August after the National Security Council’s (MGK) monthly meeting the government’s intentions became slightly clearer, as if to prove to cynics that the aim of the project was ‘not to solve but to eradicate’. While everyone was anxiously awaiting Ocalan’s roadmap to peace, Abdullah Gul said “forget Imarali and the rest, they are not interlocutors”. Erdogan reversed his previous rhetoric stating, “I see this problem as a terror problem”. The ‘Kurdish initiative’ became the ‘Democratic initiative’ and was later renamed as the project for national unity.

In short, the AKP shattered the hopes of people who expected them to take courageous steps.

Peace Groups have gone before
One of the most important steps previously taken by the PKK were to send peace envoys to Turkey.

The PKK has previously announced 5 ceasefires. And in 2005, 2008 and 2009 the PKK made three announcements to not use arms.

The most significant step the PKK has taken is sending peace envoys to Turkey and thereby approving Abdullah Ocalan’s calls. Ocalan’s calls to PKK guerrillas on the 2nd of August 1999 to withdrew from Turkey and on the 22nd of September 1999 to send a peace envoy.

The PKK has sent on 1st of october 1999 8 guerrillas which entered Turkey from Semzinan, the very point the armed struggle had begun 15 years prior.

The first peace and democratic solution group consisted of Ali Sapan, Seydi Firat, Mehmet Sirin, Ismet Baycan, Yasar Temur, Sohbet Sen, Gulten Ucar and Yuksel Genc. The group were met by 50 soldiers. They had with them four letters addressed to the Presidency, the Parliament, the Prime Minister and the Army General. The PKK proved that if Turkey was willing, the PKK were ready for peace.

Upon Ocalan’s call. a second peace envoy was sent from Vienna on the 29th of October 1999. The group consisted of Haydar Ergul, Aysel Dogan, Dilek Kurt, Aygul Bidav, Imam Canpolat, Yusuf Kiyak, Ali Sukran Aktas and Haci Celik.

However, these steps of integrity were replied to with tens of years of imprisonment for the members of the peace groups. Ismet Baycan, a member of the first group, lost his life as a result of a heart attack in Mus’s E type prison on the 24th of May, 2003. Haydar Ergul and Haci Celik are still in prison despite serving the duration of their sentences.