This whole situation is actually a reflection of a certain tension and toughening that is sure to spread across the entire country. It is reminiscent of the situation in 1994, when eight MPs from the pro-Kurdish Democracy Party (DEP Party) were arrested and put into prison for many years. While the situation of immunities being lifted may appear to be a repeat of the previously mentioned event, which took place 18 years ago, it really is not. History never really repeats itself so exactly. The things happening today are much different.
First and foremost, it is true that the government has become less soft on this. At the same time though, it is also true that the measure of toughness shown by the government is set directly by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) itself. The PKK forces the government to play tough. It lashes out, it destroys, it spills blood; it forces the government into a position of toughness against it. And when the government becomes tougher against the PKK, those who appear in the same photo frame as the PKK are also affected. Had the bayram greetings photograph with BDP members been taken at a time when terror was not on the agenda, rather than at a time when the violence in Gaziantep had taken place, would the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have come to such an agreement over trying to lift the MP immunities? As the PKK carries on its war of “territorial control,” young PKK militants are being sent en masse to their deaths. There is no difference between using them as bait before the Turkish military and sending BDP members to prison. The state is now forced to kill one and lift the immunities of the other to send him to prison.
So, which side is losing its legitimacy -- the government trying to get the immunities lifted? or the PKK, which carries on its meaningless and pointless war in the name of “battling for others”? We are talking here about legitimacy as it stands among the masses whom the PKK and the BDP are meant to represent.
Those who accuse the government of embracing security-based policies and making a return to the 1990s are overlooking all the changes that have taken place in the past 18 years. The AK Party government oversaw the Kurdish initiative, opened up TRT 6 and made a systematic rejection of assimilation policies, bringing these policies effectively to a close. In short, it was by way of the AK Party government that the Turkish Republic state Kurdish problem and the terror problem were cleaved definitively apart. And it carries on resolutely with this successful separation. No longer does a PKK flag draped on a military vehicle turn into an attack on a group of people that includes civilians. Security personnel behave more resolutely and more levelheadedly than they ever did before. And more than all that, the reform concerning regional administration that was vetoed by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer nine years ago is returning to Parliament’s agenda. This proves above all that the Parliament agenda is now under the sway, not under the effect, of terror.
But now let us question these same standards of legitimacy for the PKK. Does the warfare we have seen increase in recent days by the PKK have any legitimacy in the eyes of the masses that feel normally sympathetic towards it? The support of society, outside of a very marginal minority, is never limitless for them. The PKK is carrying on a war that has nothing to do with the masses that do lend support to them. In the meantime, there is the state, which has cut the ties that might have bound the Kurdish problem with the terror problem forever. And so, which side does the BDP stand on? Is it a part of the terror problem? Is it a part of the Kurdish problem? Is there anyone who has heard the BDP say anything lately about the Kurdish problem?
This “people’s war without the people” that is being led by the PKK has military strategy behind it, but there is no political strategy. And this military strategy drops the BDP into the position of being the basic spokespeople for this violent military apparatus. What BDP representatives need to do is quickly cut their ties with the terror problem and quickly become part of the Kurdish problem side. And for as long as this does not happen, the government will be quite right in adopting a harsher, tougher stance. Let us compare things to 18 years ago: This time around, the legitimacy problem lies not with the government, but the BDP.