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January 21, 2013, Monday

Good signs

As hopes for peace and a permanent solution to the terrorism and eventually the Kurdish issue are refreshed with the peace talks the government has launched with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), columnists persistently call for the people to remain vigilant to avoid disappointment and to be ready and prepared for attempts at provocation.

The problem of terrorism is a blood shedding bridge between the old Turkey and the new democratic Turkey and it has to be demolished for good, Star's Mustafa Karaalioğlu says. There is more optimism and hope among the public for getting rid of the terrorism problem more than ever now. What is even more important is that the people are now worried about the negotiations, but in a different manner than in the past. This time they are not worried that the government will make too many concessions to the terrorist group; on the contrary, they worry that provocations will hamper the peace process and Turkey will once against miss its chance for peace. This is a very good sign, Karaalioğlu says.

However, the columnist asserts, it is impossible to block the path of peace unless Turks and Kurds lose their respect for each other. They do not see one another as “others” now. Also, Kurds now realize that the weapons the PKK holds no longer symbolize the honor of the Kurds; instead they symbolize their losses and pain. These are the reasons why we are more hopeful about the peace talks than we were during previous negotiations.

Bugün's Gültekin Avcı is one of the few voices opposing the government's peace talks. He thinks launching the negotiations at such a time -- when the terrorist attacks increased -- would send the PKK the wrong message: that it has left the state no choice other than sitting down at a negotiation table. Thus, the terrorist group will further insist that its demands be met, rather than trying to find a middle ground. However, Avcı says, now that the negotiations have already begun, he can only hope the process results in a success and the bloodshed finally reaches an end.

Nevertheless, we should be cautious regarding more attempts of sabotage like the one in Paris, the columnist warns. He refers to the murders of the three Kurdish women who were linked to the PKK and shot dead in a Paris building on Jan. 10. The killings have been perceived as an attempt to derail the peace process. Avcı believes that a French intelligence agency might have played a role in the killings. The fact that France refused offers of cooperation from the Turkish intelligence agency and the Turkish security forces supports his argument, Avcı claims. Also take into account the fact that the murderers have not yet been found and French President Françoise Hollande has not yet explained why he was regularly meeting with one of the three slain Kurdish women. The Bugün columnist says that if the PKK did not have the French or any other country's intelligence agency commit the killings on its behalf, then the murderers will definitely be found. However, if it indeed employed an external force to do the deed, then we will only have individuals, whom the PKK and the agency committing the murder deem expendable, take the fall and be arrested, but nothing more.

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