Saturday, October 24, 2009

Special : The Kurds Experiencing Historical Days 3

Submitted by Tsiatsan on Saturday, October 24 2009
güncel Kurdish Info - REFLECTIONS INTELLECTUALS, PARTIES, THE KURDISH SIDE, NGO's AND ABROAD - While the Kurdish people were cherishing the arrival of their peace emissaries, this found its echo in different ways in Turkey’s public opinion. Some columnists commented on the arrival of the peace groups in their classic provocative manner. However some other columnists emphasised the contribution that the peace emissaries could make to the peace process.
Oral Çalışlar: The Kurds are demanding their rights in an organised and conscious manner, they want a democratic solution. They are ready to make any collective sacrifices necessary. Those who are coming from Mahmur, Kandil and Europe are arriving in front of the eyes of the whole world. They are, in a way, rejuvenating the hopes of the Kurds. They are responding to the expectancy of the Turkey that wants a resolution. These arrivals will gain meaning with the right responses and brave suggestions for a solution. Otherwise! is something I do not wish to say.

Ahmet Altan: This country is experiencing a great transformation. Yesterday it passed one of the most important bends of this road. A positive step in the Kurdish issue will affect the whole country in a short space of time. Our spirits and minds, which have become accustomed to anger and hostility, will experience a short lived shock. This shock will be overcome by seeing, comprehending and feeling the good things that are happening and will happen. Like a drug addict we will moan when we cannot feed our anger and find its source, but the dream of a better life after rehabilitation will keep us going. We will get used to peace and become afflicted to it.

Derya Sazak: The PKK groups who entered Silopi yesterday, following the appeal from Öcalan, are raising hopes for a peaceful resolution to the Kurdish issue. Although there are four to five thousand armed PKK members in the mountains, the arrival of 34 people, although symbolic, is very meaningful. If all parties support this initiative, then this small step can open the path of bigger ones.

Ahmet Tulgar: When they are walking, children who have missed their fathers, and maybe never seen them, are resting their ears to the land. As they went, as they were going, a country was diminishing. When they were there the country was incomplete. Because any country who’s children has gone to the mountains, is lacking. No matter how much it claims wholeness, no matter how much it becomes enraged, this is the truth. And now they are coming to make this country whole again. A country can only become a country with those that return. If there are returns it will be a country. As they return it will become a country.

Prof. Dr. Mehmet Altan indicated that the arrival of the peace groups had opened the path for steps that would need to be taken from now on. He said that an important curve had been turned. Altan added that a new constitution was a necessity if the Kurdish issue was to be solved permanently. ‘‘For the Kurds to have the freedom to exist with their own identities, a new constitution is a must,’’ he said.

Associate Prof. Dr. Haluk Gerger highlighted that a blockage had occurred in the expansion process. He voiced his belief in this process being unblocked following the arrival and release of the peace groups. ‘‘A scalpel has been taken to a dangerous deadlock and denial knot. This time is a time of open and free discussion. The government must display its own clarity so an environment of free discussion can be formed,’’ he said.

Journalist – Author Celal Başlangıç indicated that the approach towards the peace groups was an expression of how close we have come to peace. ‘‘What is important now is that the government clarifies and declares what this expansion packet is and begins discussions for a peaceful and permanent solution to this issue’’ said Başlangıç.
Attorney Engin Cinmen said that the release of all the peace group members was a gratifying development and he hoped the steps taken following this would be consistent with this one. Cinmen continued by saying that it was now time for political developments and that guns and war should be taken off the agenda once and for all. He also emphasised that the demands listed in the letters the groups had brought needed to be discussed.

The peace groups have made their mark on the agenda of the Turkish Parliament. The AKP assessed the arrival of 34 people to Turkey as a ‘positive and gratifying development’ whilst the CHP and MHP alleged that the peace groups had not come to surrender but to take hostage.

Socialist Democracy Party (SDP) leader Rıdvan Turan stated that the peace groups were not a step towards surrendering but towards opening the path of democratic politics. He called for the government to acknowledge this step and respond in a sincere manner.

The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) issued a written statement. The statement indicated that ‘ostracising and terrorising’ the peace groups should be avoided.

EMEP leader Levent Tüzel said that the arrival of the peace groups had created an opportunity for a democratic and peaceful resolution to the Kurdish issue and that government officials shouldn’t miss this opportunity.

KCK Executive Council Chair Murat Karayılan said that they wanted to start a new process, and pointed out that the peace groups could be a turning point for the Kurdish people. He continued, ‘‘the Turkish state is changing its Kurdish policy. It is heading towards a new policy. This policy has more political and diplomatic activity at its forefront.’’ Based on this Karayılan said he found it positive that the peace groups were not arrested. However he warned that there was more to be done and that this didn’t constitute a solution.

KCK Executive Council Chair Murat Karayılan listed the steps which needed to be taken from this point onwards. ‘‘Before everything else, the military operations must cease. Then a dialogue needs to begin. A discussion regarding how this problem can be solved and negotiations must start.’’

Karayılan continued by saying, ‘‘we want to make peace with Turkey’’ and assessed the sending of the peace groups as an expansion by them. ‘‘The state must turn their promises of an expansion into practical steps. What is their expansion, we will see. We want to see the practical steps of their expansion. This is what we are waiting for’’ he said.

A press conference was organised at the MAZLUMDER Wan branch for the peace emissaries who were greeted with a grand ceremony. The press conference attended by the organisations executives emphasised that for the first time a historical opportunity had been created for a solution to the Kurdish issue. It was noted that the situation had surpassed a symbolic initiative, and warned that this practical step shouldn’t be sacrificed for fascist reflexes.

The peace groups were also saluted by members of the Alliance Movement for Democracy and the Izmir Peace Initiative. The Alliance Movement for Democracy emphasised the importance of dialogue for a democratic solution. While the Izmir Peace Initiative called on the government to conduct the process in a better way and also to abandon its pursuit of trying to solve the problem without interlocutors.

Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Chairman Mesud Barzani, assessed the peace groups’ arrival in Turkey as an important step. Barzani also said that they supported the new policy of Turkey in every way.

US Foreign Ministry spokesman Ian Kelly, in his daily press conference, said that they supported Turkey’s efforts in combating the PKK. Kelly said that there was no change in their attitude towards the PKK and invoked that they had ‘‘appealed to Turkey to begin a dialogue regarding expanding the cultural and language rights of the Kurdish population in Turkey.’’

The deputy commander of the multinational division in Northern Iraq, Lieutenant General Robert Brown, said that they didn’t view the PKK as being a problem in the north of Iraq. Brown pointed out that the Turkey-Iraq border was being protected well.

European Parliament Left Group (Die Linke) Chairman Lothar Bisky stated that the EU needed to do more in supporting a solution to the Kurdish issue. Answering questions at the EU Parliament, Bisky said to journalists, ‘‘the Kurdish People must have the right to self determination.’’

Sweden’s Ambassador in Turky Christopher Asp, hailed the arrival of the peace groups as being a positive step and said, ‘‘we would like to see what kind of concrete steps will be taken in return.’’