Atalay added that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will reveal the details of the negotiations in the coming days.
In a normal country, such a statement from a deputy prime minister that Turkey has finally convinced the PKK to lay down its arms would produce a huge shock. This is not only breaking news for Turkey but breaking news for the rest of the world, too.
However, it is more than sad that no one has taken Atalay seriously. Perhaps there are two reasons for that. First, in recent years Atalay’s credibility has eroded so rapidly that no one trusts what he says anymore. Especially after Atalay’s terrible waste of the democratic initiative, neither Turks nor pro-PKK Kurds take him seriously.
Second, people do not believe that the PKK will lay down its arms. Given the fact that the PKK has declared many times that its aim is not to lay down arms but to return to the Kurdish region as security forces after possible peace negotiations, no one believes that the PKK would indeed end its violence. Therefore, Atalay’s statement does not make any sense.
If it is a fact that the PKK would not lay down its arms, why would Atalay need to manipulate people with such false rhetoric?
I think there are two reasons why he manipulates society. First, the Justice and Development (AKP) government, especially the group close to Atalay, has been pushing to change the law to abolish the special court that prosecutes organized crime and terror networks. This group has finally achieved its goal of abolishing this court, but there is strong resistance from AKP supporters. In order to ease the resistance against the AKP’s attempt to abolish the court, Atalay manipulates the facts and pumps false information into the public debate, hoping that the people would welcome any good news under the current circumstances. So with this kind of manipulation, Atalay believes that the AKP government would divert attention away from the issue of the special court to something positive, like a peaceful ending. Yet it was a failed attempt on behalf of Atalay that no one took him seriously.
The second reason why Atalay manipulates information is because he needs to prepare the public for possible negotiations with the PKK. Given that Atalay and his aids were the architects of the failed peace negotiation process, he insists that he will bring peace through negotiations. In a way, the peace negotiations are his only claim to success during his political career in the past 10 years. Thus it has become a matter of obsession for him and he uses every window of opportunity to promote his failed project. He insists that there is no other solution but his project.
All in all, because PKK leaders have denied his statement, there is no way that the PKK would lay down its arms. Atalay just manipulates people’s expectations for his own political ends and ambitions.