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December 04, 2012, Tuesday

Cart before horse

The government’s plan to remove the parliamentary immunity of several pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputies who are accused of being linked to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has been hotly debated for weeks now.

Columnists mainly believe the deputies are indeed giving open support to the terrorist organization; however, removing their immunity and then jailing them might cause tensions relating to the long-standing Kurdish question to flare up, blocking the political path to a resolution, they argue.

Taraf’s Akın Özçer says having links to a terrorist organization is definitely a reason to shut down a political party or to try the deputies. And we have seen an example of this in Spain. However, the situation in Turkey is very different from that in Spain. The policy that the Turkish government pursued when fighting terrorism is almost like putting the cart before the horse, according to Özçer, who says that military operations have been carried out against the PKK, without the government first implementing necessary democratic reforms. This state of events should have been the other way around in order for the country to become a true democratic state of law. The reason behind such an immunity removal plan is not theoretically wrong, but it comes at the wrong time, he notes.

Another columnist from Taraf, Kurtuluş Tayiz, on the other hand, suggests that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is trying to clear the way for a meeting with the PKK’s jailed leader, Abdullah Öcalan. Tayiz says Erdoğan is planning to weaken Kandil, the PKK headquarters, which is now controlling the PKK and the Kurdish political movement, namely the BDP, in order to strengthen Öcalan. For that, he wants to get rid of several BDP figures he knows to be cooperating with Kandil by paving the way for their imprisonment and in turn allowing him to revive talks with Öcalan. Erdoğan thinks Öcalan wants to resolve the Kurdish question, yet Kandil tries to hamper it by staging more and more attacks. Looking at this picture, it is a positive development that the prime minister and his government are indeed determined to solve the Kurdish question. But trying to solve it by jailing a number of Kurdish deputies is not the right way to go about it, Tayiz argues.

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