The year was 2009.
Date: March 10, 2009:President Abdullah Gül begins the Kurdish initiative process by saying: “There will be good things vis-à-vis the Kurdish issue. A new period will be opened.”
Date: April 13, 2009:Senior Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Murat Karayılan announces a unilateral cease-fire until June 1, 2009, to prepare the grounds for solving the Kurdish problem through peaceful means.
Date: April 29, 2009:Two weeks after the unilateral cease-fire is announced, mines explode on the Diyarbakır-Bingöl highway; there are nine military casualties.
Date: May 5, 2009:At Kandil, the PKK headquarters in northern Iraq, Hasan Cemal, a senior columnist at the Milliyet daily, meets with Karayılan to discuss the Kurdish issue. Karayılan says: “What takes precedence is for the weapons to be silenced; let no one attack anyone. Let us begin to discuss this issue between each other … not with weapons; let us start a dialogue.”
“Don’t let this opportunity for peace pass us by,” he adds. “We don’t want any more blood to be spilled because years will pass by and we’ll be back at square one.” Cemal asks Karayılan: “[Regarding] the unilateral cease-fire, why were there PKK attacks that caused the death of 10 soldiers in Diyarbakır and Hakkari just two weeks after the inaction you promised?” Karayılan: “We were saddened by that… That was not an event planned from the center. It was a decision made in the field at the regional level of their own initiative.”
Date: May 23, 2009:I write: “The participants need to be discussed just as much as the plans for the solution of the Kurdish problem. … In short, when it comes to the main issue of the PKK, the people involved are just as important as the plans and projects. It appears that there is a new stirring within some of the people and some of the plans and projects, but this problem is not a problem that can be solved that easily. Let’s be hopeful, but there’s no need to get carried away.”
Date: May 28, 2009:It is three weeks after Karayılan delivered his “let’s silence the weapons” pacifier. Mines installed by the PKK in the town of Hantepe in Hakkari province explode, resulting in seven military deaths.
Date: May 30, 2009:I write: “The news of casualties has thrust a dagger into the hopes for a solution to the Kurdish problem. Whatever the reasons were, the PKK will not be able to explain this attack. This attack, especially on the international media, shows that Murat Karayılan, who promised a solution, is not genuine; he cannot even genuinely control his organization. … The direction of this war is not clear. It is not clear who is part of the PKK and who fights against that name or who represents this worn group to the government.”
Between 2009 and 2011, many developments come about. Discussions take place. The PKK and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) arrive at an agreement.
Date: July 8, 2011:PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan explains: “We have arrived at an agreement for the formation of a peace council. The fighting must not start again.”
Date: July 14, 2011: In the city of Silvan in Diyarbakır province, 13 soldiers on leave are killed in an attack by the PKK. Again, it is the same scenario. The second Kurdish initiative concludes exactly as the one that began in 2009. In short, the PKK sabotaged the process as it began and as it finished.
Second try for peace
Date: June 1, 2012:Even though nothing has changed since Silvan, some in Ankara catch “initiative fever.” Even so, everything starts as it did in the first period. This time, Radikal journalist Avni Özgürel conducts an interview with Karayılan instead of Cemal. And Karayılan tells the same story he told in 2009. He speaks of the silencing of guns and the restart of the peace process. But pro-negotiation intellectuals are still drawing a picture of Karayılan as a “man of peace.”
Özgürel asks a question similar to the one Cemal asked in 2009: You say that we have come so close to peace; why, then, did you launch the Silvan attack that shot down the soaring change for peace?
Karayılan gives the same response he gave to Cemal in 2009: The Silvan attack did not take place with his or the organization’s authorization. “Local forces conducted it; I could not control it.”
Date: June 9, 2012:Interior Minister Beşir Atalay releases a statement, saying, “There are talks taking place regarding the disarmament of the PKK and the groups’ being brought under control.”
Date: June 19, 2012:Just as in 2009 and 2011, three weeks after Karayılan said “Let’s start the peace process again, let’s silence the guns,” the PKK attacked again, killing soldiers. This time eight soldiers were slain.
Date: June 19, 2012:I write a piece of the same content. The attack shows that Karayılan, who chooses media as a platform to speak of a solution, is not sincere and, even if he is sincere, he is unable control his organization.
My opinion is that since this second attempt at a Kurdish initiative started like the first one, it will end like the first one…
Summary of 2012
Karayılan is handing out the same kind of hope with the same words. The PKK is conducting the same operations and making the same excuses. The same unfortunate young men are dying and I keep writing the same columns. Some from the prime minister’s circle are believing the same lies in negotiations again and again, leading others to believe them as well. This same vicious cycle is continuing. And Karayılan is once again becoming “the man of peace.” And I am becoming a warmonger for saying: “Don’t trust the PKK. Give the Kurds their rights without delay; there can be no negotiation until the PKK moves outside of Turkish borders.”
This is what I would like from our esteemed prime minister: Some authorities and negotiating intellectuals around you believe that Karayılan is sincere where peace is concerned, that peace is possible with the PKK and that there is no other option save negotiating with the organization. They even go as far as to accuse and belittle those who do not believe the PKK and Karayılan, almost criminalizing them. I hope that the prime minister reads this column and is not dragged into the same mindset as certain myopic individuals who say that “negotiations with the PKK are possible.” These people are fooling the prime minister and the public. For when the process of peace is destroyed, so is the longing and hope for it. And this causes Kurds to become even more segregated. This is the very aim of the PKK, which shoots down these peace processes.
Despite Tuesday’s attack in Dağlıca, which resulted in the deaths of eight soldiers, the PKK is after a cease-fire. It plans on passing this off as an attempt at peace. I am ready to talk about how peace with the PKK is not possible in these conditions, in detail, at every platform, even with the circles of the prime minister -- with everyone -- as long as my opinion on the matter is consulted.