YUSUF KANLI In his Victory Day speech several days ago, Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ declared a set of red lines. In summary, the top commander of the country underlined that the “Kurdish opening” of the government should not compromise Turkey’s national and territorial integrity.
He as well said the military was against any action that would compromise Article Three of the Turkish Constitution, one of the three articles which cannot be amended and amendment of them could not even be suggested, that stresses that “The Turkish state, with its territory and nation, is an indivisible entity. Its language is Turkish.”
Furthermore, he said “under no condition” the military would engage in an activity that may lead to establishing relations with a terrorist organization or its supporters; could not for any reason tolerate those exploiting the opportunities offered by democracy to engage in acts of terror targeting the right to live, the most fundamental individual right.
The top commander as well cautioned the government that since “form and modality defines the basics” the Turkish military believed that the utmost sensitivity must be shown in defining how and through what modality the subject would be handled.
The last salvo in the top general’s statement was to the freedom of speech as he underlined that the military believed “freedom to discuss every issue should not entail subjects that may endanger the very existence of the Turkish state, plunge the country into polarization, separation and into an atmosphere of confrontation.”
Unfortunately, this very crucial element in the statement of the top general was not adequately covered, and indeed condemned, in the Turkish media. How could the military introduce limitations to freedom of thought?
Those who assume that Turkey’s European Union bid has been surfing on waters troubled by Sarkozy of France and Merkel of Germany, should perhaps realize this and such impediments which include obviously because of the anti-democratic elections and political party laws the tyranny of party leaders, injustice in representation and the enhancing politicization of the justice system under the pretext of judicial reform by the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, administration.
Başbuğ’s speech was followed this week with a press conference by Interior Minister Beşir Atalay, the “coordinator” of government’s “Kurdish opening.” The minister, more or less, repeated the red lines declared by the top general and made some additions such as “there can be no amnesty” or “priority is to make the terrorists lay down arms.”
Davutoğlu enters the scene
A third statement came from Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. On a tour of Iraq, Syria and northern Cyprus, the foreign minister sounded very optimistic in remarks to some embedded journalists. He expected some very important developments take place within a week. He believed with the “Kurdish opening” the government was taking Turkey from a “gray area” into a “white one” conducive to faster development and thus to a higher level of welfare in the country.
The opposition parties, on the other hand, continue their salvo on the government that with this opening it is endangering Turkey’s national and territorial integrity.
Being skeptical of the government’s effort does not mean being against efforts to solve the most important anachronism of the Republic’s history. Right, there is a confidence crisis between the AKP and the opposition. Many people, including this writer, approach whatever the AKP does with skepticism if not outright rejection. Yet, AKP’s success in the “Kurdish opening” will be Turkey’s success. There is no doubt in that.
Yet, are we really moving from “gray” to “white?” Just yesterday DTP leader Ahmet Türk and DTP deputy Aysel Tuğluk declared in Diyarbakır that the state should accept separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, terrorist gang and its imprisoned chieftain Abdullah Öcalan as a counterpart in this move. They threatened Turkey that if this opening failed to resolve he Kurdish issue, they might start raising their “right to separate.”
What is the genie that AKP released from the bottle? Is Turkey really heading to white or even to a darker and bleaker destination?