But unfortunately, public perceptions about various aspects of the Kurdish issue are very fickle, and this ever-changing perception urges one to reiterate certain facts again and again.
Although there is no change in the political codes and demands of the Kurdish issue, the media networks’ efforts to create new perceptions may give way to serious confusion in people’s minds. Just read the articles in the press and just watch in amazement at the attempts at creating the perception that this country’s memory banks do not hold anything about the Kurdish issue and the demands expressed therein.
The articles about the recent developments in Şemdinli are not promising, either. Eruh and Şemdinli had been raided in 1984, i.e., 28 years ago. Now, it seems that Şemdinli has been besieged once again.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has been fighting the security forces in a vast geography in and around Şemdinli. Numerous people died in the clashes, which are expected to continue for some time. According to a statement by the interior minister, the number of the PKK militants killed so far is 115.
But why did the PKK pick this area as its target, even though the PKK draws 80 percent of the vote in this area. What is it after in this area where it has strong political support? What can it gain by attacking it? The answers are clear.
In the PKK’s mentality, to be strong in an area is to be militarily strong there; strong political backing does not mean much. If strong political support had meant something, then it would not have resorted to violence and armed attacks to incite the public against the state in an area where it is politically strong.
Arms and armed struggle are still the greatest assurances for the PKK. The PKK believes that it has to protect its political achievements via violence.
Being represented in Parliament or controlling a significant portion of local administrations in the region is not seen as significant developments. This is because democratic wishes and demands are naturally variable and, based on this variability, people’s political preferences may vary over time. The PKK seeks to keep armed struggle alive in order to prevent all sorts of change.
In appearance, democratic autonomy is at the top of the list of its demands. However, even if it achieves democratic autonomy, it will not lay down its arms but will seek to protect this autonomy with its arms. This autonomy that will be protected against Turkey needs a leader, and he is no one but Abdullah Öcalan.
The PKK owes it authority to its arms. Without its arms, the PKK will not be able to enforce political respectability in public and, over time, it will turn into a marginal movement. Examples of this abound around the globe.
Therefore, the type of the political solution which the PKK is after corresponds to nothing in Turkey. This is because the PKK no longer has a monopoly over Kurdish demands. It is new Turkey’s sine qua non for any political party that promotes democracy and equality to meet those Kurdish demands.
Some groups raise objection to elective Kurdish courses, but even if the government introduces education in the mother tongue, this would not satisfy the PKK and the political movement that follows in the PKK’s footsteps. Indeed, the PKK wants the public to believe that fundamental rights can be implemented only via negotiations and this cannot be done without negotiating with the PKK. Therefore, what the PKK is doing concerning the rights of Kurds is nothing but blocking them.
This truth is well known by the civilians who engage in politics for and on behalf of the PKK as well as by the public.
To pursue a political career in such a system, you must be chosen by the PKK, and if you are picked by the PKK, you can obtain any political position you are after. Thus, you may become a mayor or a deputy. The reason why the political actors in the pro-Kurdish political movement have remained the same for 20 years is because of this.
After every PKK attack, media outlets rekindle the same debate. The PKK is attacking because the demands of Kurds are not met, they argue. This argument is miles from the truth. This is because during the last 10 years, the state has taken the plunge and implemented many reforms on the Kurdish language and culture.
It is not possible to weaken and neutralize the PKK in military terms without weakening it politically. There is no new Oslo process within sight. So the government should continue to make reforms and the security sector should take extreme care in avoiding operations that may harm the public and take care in protecting civilians in its fight against the PKK.
In sum, a tragedy like the one in Uludere -- in which 34 civilians were mistaken for terrorists and killed by military airstrikes in Şırnak’s Uludere district due to false intelligence -- must be diligently avoided in fighting against the PKK.