MERVE BÜŞRA ÖZTÜRK

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MERVE BÜŞRA ÖZTÜRK
January 01, 2013, Tuesday

Hopes for 2013

As a turbulent year in politics has ended and a brand new year has begun, columnists mostly wrote about their hopes and expectations as well as concerns for 2013.

With the common hope that the Kurdish issue will be better handled this year, columnists expressed hope that efforts at solving this issue will be crowned with a new constitution.

Sabah’s Hasan Celal Güzel says 2012 was a year in which risks were far bigger than hopes. He notes that 2013 will hopefully be the opposite. His biggest hope is that the terrorism problem will end for good this year. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has been dealt a major blow by the effective operations of the security forces since October, and if this continues for a while longer, we may actually see the end of the terrorism problem this year, Güzel comments.

For almost 30 years, he says, this country has begun the new year with the hope that the Kurdish issue would be solved. And so we did this year, too. Separating the terrorism problem from the Kurdish issue was the most positive step that has been taken in this regard, and thus the Kurdish issue has become more solvable with some democratic reforms that have been introduced to Kurds throughout the year. Now the wisest move would be to change the definition of citizenship in the new constitution. This will open a brand new era for the Kurdish issue, he argues.

The best thing about 2012 was that it finally ended, says Radikal’s Koray Çalışkan. It started with the pain of the Uludere incident, in which 34 civilians were mistakenly killed by a military airstrike on Dec. 28, 2011, and ended with the disappointment that those responsible for the airstrike have not yet been exposed. That said, he hopes this pain of the Turkish people won’t be forgotten or ignored in 2013 and that the government strives more sincerely to heal people’s wounds.

Another columnist for Radikal, Akif Beki, is also hopeful about the fate of the Kurdish issue in 2013 as there is a great chance meetings with PKK chief Abdullah Öcalan will yield results. However, he is concerned that more and more attempts to set the government and the Hizmet movement at loggerheads will succeed. Similar attempts will also aim to pit Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan against President Abdullah Gül over the debate of switching to a presidential system. In this sense, this year will be a challenging one and almost a test for the government as 2013 will be followed by the critical elections of 2014.

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