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October 19, 2012, Friday

Do new things really happen in Ankara?

There are such high expectations for the end of terrorism and the settlement of the Kurdish issue that every step taken toward resolution creates much enthusiasm. The recent wave of visits paid by pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy (BDP) deputies to the president, parliament speaker and the parliamentary group of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is being marketed as “new things happening in Ankara.” Does this really signify a novelty? Or is it nothing but a tactical move to save the terrorist organization from further casualties?

In recent months, Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorism has really been in the ascendancy. They attack schools, university exam prep course providers and dormitories. They set schools ablaze and kidnap teachers. They martyr our soldiers.

True, the involvement of the BDP in the settlement of the Kurdish issue is important. But the BDP is directly controlled by the PKK. This brings the political solution to a dead end. Indeed, the written statement released by the BDP following the visits reads: “As there is nothing new that could be made public after the visits, we feel no need to make any announcement about our talks.” Therefore, it is too early to say that there are new things happenings in Ankara.

The PKK and the BDP opt to turn a blind eye to the government's determination to eradicate terrorism. Let as take a look at what the prime minister said recently: “We are determined to make terrorism no longer the bleeding wound of the country. Hopefully, we will all see some important developments in this regard in the coming days.”

So there is a new counterterrorism strategy. The country has moved from the era of a state of emergency and martial law and uncoordinated and nontransparent counterterrorism efforts to the era of rule of law and increased initiative of civilians. (Nevertheless, the acts of the shadowy deep state that put the government behind the eight ball in incidents such as the Uludere tragedy -- in which 34 civilians were mistaken for terrorists and killed by a military air strike in Şırnak's Uludere district, due to false intelligence -- should be noted.) More and more specially trained professionals are replacing the novice soldiers who have just completed their basic military training. The security forces no longer wait for terrorists to strike. Instead, the squads take proactive measures against terrorists. They make use of cutting-edge technology. Likewise, slum-like military outposts are quickly being replaced by reinforced strongholds built by the Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKİ).

There is something new as well. PKK terrorism is quickly becoming meaningless in terms of the rights of our Kurdish citizens. Our Kurdish citizens see that the ongoing terrorism, setting schools on fire and staging suicide attacks, is meaningless. Most importantly, the reasonable majority sincerely supports the peaceful settlement of the Kurdish issue based on the rule of law, equality, fairness and justice. Everyone sees that the PKK seeks no solution, but rather wants to capture the lands of our 21 provinces.

At this point, the stance of our Kurdish citizens becomes vital. The BDP is chained by the PKK, but people should exhibit their opposition to terrorism and violence. In this regard, the reaction of villagers to the PKK terrorists who abducted six teachers in the village of Bulakbaşı in Iğdır is remarkable. The villagers said to the PKK militants, “Either you kill us or let the teachers go,” and the PKK had to release the teachers one hour later. Actually, it is this development that deserves to be depicted as “something new” that is happening.

We must also ponder the statement the prime minister gave to journalists upon his return from Azerbaijan. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said: “MİT [the National Intelligence Organization] can do anything, any time. That is, I am saying this openly and sincerely, if it is necessary to go to İmralı tomorrow, I'll tell my [MİT] undersecretary to go there and do whatever is needed so that we achieve a good outcome. What can we do to stop this bloodshed? This is our sole intention.”

Yes, a significant portion of the public believes it is an act of abasement on the part of the government to meet with the PKK leader. They see it as a compromise with terrorism. But we must also remember Erdoğan's justification. The state can and must do whatever it can to stop the bloodshed. This method should be tried, even if it is hard to accept. It must be tried in order to remove the shackles of Turkey and pave the way for future generations.

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