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February 19, 2013, Tuesday

What’s happening in Sinop, Samsun?

Pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputies Sırrı Süreyya Önder, Sabahat Tuncel and Ertuğrul Kürkçü, and independent İstanbul deputy Levent Tüzel started a tour of the Black Sea region to "talk about the new solution process." What some people did to them in Sinop and the attacks against them in Samsun are proof that we face a well-organized provocation and that the danger is a great one.

True, the new solution process is considerably different from previous ones. A significant portion of society supports it. In particular, the people in the eastern and southeastern provinces, where terrorism has been wreaking havoc for many years, are giving their strong support to it so that bloodshed stops and peace prevails. How the people welcomed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Mardin and the BDP stronghold of Kızıltepe is very meaningful.

The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) issue is Turkey's most challenging problem. If Turkey can solve it, it will be the rising star of the region and the world. It will attain the peace, stability and welfare it has been longing for in this region of the world.

Two powers will not like this outcome. The first is the illegal network nested within the state -- i.e., the aghas of the status quo and tutelage. They continue to resist and are trying to muster enough courage and gain sufficient power… The other is the group of regional and Western countries that do not want Turkey to become a global player in the region, but in particular in the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, the Balkans and the Caucasus. Those who don't want Turkey to stand for its own values, and historical and cultural potential and to make big strides will do everything they can to undermine the solution process.

There will be provocations seeking to derail the solution process. The murder of three PKK women in Paris, the suicide attack on the US Embassy in Ankara and the bombing at the Cilvegözü border crossing in Hatay should all be assessed from this perspective. The most dangerous of the provocations yet would be to spark clashes between Turks and Kurds in demographically sensitive provinces. The solution process may go on despite other provocations. But a fraternal feud would be an unparalleled danger. Thankfully, the funerals of thousands of martyred soldiers, the thousands of unsolved politically motivated murders, village evacuations, the burning down of villages, torture, the denigration of Kurds, and the efforts to assimilate Kurds all failed to undermine our will to coexist. Our identity as a great nation has been tested severely. But it is not enough. Now is the time to stick together and foil provocations.

I personally know Mr. Önder, and I would like to say something to him: I sincerely believe you mean well with your initiative. A deputy should be able to visit any part of the country and the state should be able to protect him or her. I was saddened to see a photo of you seeking shelter in a house as if you were a prisoner. A deputy does not deserve such treatment. No reasonable person can accept it.

But you are well aware of the potential provocations and risks. I think your timing was wrong. We are walking on thin ice. If the solution process culminates in peace, I am ready to accompany you wherever you go.

The alertness adopted and measures taken by our police are very critical these days. Four deputies besieged in an apartment for nine hours in Sinop is indicative of an intelligence weakness. We cannot at present predict the potential risks. There is no excuse for our faults. Everyone in charge must remain on full alert.

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