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June 08, 2012, Friday

Kurdish issue, AKP and MHP

Leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu made a very good move getting an appointment with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to discuss a possible solution to the Kurdish problem.

 One does not need to be a genius to solve the problem; as the content of the meeting shows, everything to be said has been said about the problem. We need only courageous leaders. Erdoğan’s message to Kılıçdaroğlu was that the Turkish National Movement Party (MHP) must also be consulted on the issue and its approval secured. When it comes to many other sensitive issues, the governing party does not care about what other parties have to say, but it now seems to have adopted a different position.

Some Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporters, especially in the media, have started putting pressure on the MHP, asking the party to help find a solution. They are blaming the MHP for its narrow-minded approach and claiming that the MHP does not want to resolve the Kurdish problem, as resolution would reduce the MHP’s voter base. I have found this approach immoral, to say the least. These pro-AKP people do not apply the same criteria to the MHP as to the AKP. Let us state why the AKP does not make a courageous move to solve the problem, rather calling for the MHP’s help: nationalist Turkish voters. Around half the AKP’s voters are Turkish nationalists, and in order to win over the MHP, particularly during election periods, the AKP resorts to nationalist rhetoric.

As rightly suggested, we now have a Turkish problem in addition to the Kurdish problem. The ruling politicians have not played a leading role and attempted to convince the Turkish masses that rights given to Kurds would not undermine Turks’ rights, or reminded them that it is only humane to feel empathy with the Kurds. Instead, they have preferred to take the easier path; that is, to appeal to the nationalistic sentiments of the masses. But now they have fallen into their own trap. The AKP knows that without solving the Kurdish problem it cannot play the meaningful role in the Middle East that it so much wants to play.

Further, it cannot implement the presidential system it so desperately wants. It also risks losing the support of the Kurds, who have consistently voted for the AKP in the hope that one day, when conditions are right, the party will address the problem. These AKP-voting Kurds now see that there is no barrier to their receiving their due rights other than the AKP’s nationalist concerns. Thus, they are becoming frustrated.

As I have remarked, the AKP does not want to risk its nationalist votes, yet it asks this very sacrifice from the MHP. It is a double standard. I do not think that if the Kurdish problem is solved there will be no need for a nationalist party. Quite the contrary, the MHP may find it garners more votes. But let us not focus on this now.

Let us follow the AKP supporters’ argument that the MHP has been selfish in not supporting the resolution on the basis that it will lose votes. What about the AKP? Why do we not make use of the same logic in relation to the AKP? It does not want to solve the Kurdish problem alone, despite having the parliamentary power to easily do so. The generals are too weak to prevent this from happening. It is crystal clear that the AKP does not want to risk its nationalist voters, and craftily asks the MHP to do so on its behalf. Can you see any ethics or morality in this? I cannot. It is a matter of principle.

If the party believes that the Kurds have not been given their due and suffer from inequality, unjust treatment and so on, they should not be selfish and only think about their political future. It is odd that when it comes to politics we suddenly become very understanding and tolerant of selfish motives and justify them on the basis of political maneuvering. This shows us that we have the politicians we deserve.

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