28 February 2013
JTW team has conducted an interview with USAK expert Mehmet Yegin on the peace-making process with the outlawed PKK, discussing briefly the historical background of the issue and potential risks it bears for Turkey.
Mehmet Yegin: When we look at the public opinion polls, we see that between 82-85 % of Kurds living in Turkey are not in favor of a federal or autonomous structure and more than 90 % of them are not in favor of independence. Thus; Öcalan, BDP and Kandil state that there is not a demand for autonomy means. Therefore, it can be stated that they are getting in line with the popular demand. Besides, the quest for democratization is not solely raised by Kurds. Almost all segments of the society are asking for a new constitution that brings more democracy and equality for all ethnic and religious groups. Hence, this is a goal for the Turkish Parliament with or without negotiations with the PKK to lay down weapons.
What about the four-step strategy of resolution that includes non-conflict, expulsion, negotiations for withdrawal of arms and permanenr withdrawal of arms at the end?
Actually, when we look at the statements of Erdoğan, he declares the minimum requirement for starting the talks as the PKK members to leave the Turkish territory. Thus, he automatically underlines the second step as the beginning of the talks. Using certain steps is a cautious but also a reliable way to deal with the negotiations, since there were so many distracters and spoilers in the previous processes. Indeed, the first and second steps will serve to build mutual trust between the parties.
Here we see that government is taking risks for a real peace process. Besides, certain political actors including the main opposition party support the process. Thus, this is a huge chance for peace. But, it needs two to tango. If PKK plays the game fair, then a real win for all the parties can be achieved.
By Reyhan Güner