NURAY MERT So-called prominent Turkish democrats seem to be disturbed with my statement, “We can’t move forward if we do not begin to discuss everything openly on the Kurdish issue, including the separation.”
In fact, my purpose was not to say, “The Kurds want to be separated. Let’s talk on behalf of them, declare them separatist and bring the issue to a climax.” If it would be, then I would go ahead and say that; well, I have too many weaknesses like everybody has; but being insincere, like prominent Turkish democrats are, is not among them.
I have written maybe more than hundred times that I am of the opinion that the founding principle of the Turkish Republic had eroded on the two fault lines, laicism and Kurdish issues, and that they should be flexed to avoid a hard break.
If repair before something is broken is possible, there requires a “social contract.” Here is the main problem. How will we reach to a new social contract?
Acknowledging toughness of the task and a pledge of sincerity are indispensable conditions for the solution of this hard and long lasting issue. If that could have been handled with the essays of some intellectuals or appearances of few mothers of fallen soldiers in the media, we would have resolved it already.
If steps are to be taken to meet the political demands of the Kurds, then everyone supporting this idea should exert efforts to explain what these demands are and what steps to be taken to assure the public opinion without cutting corners. What I mean by explaining is not dictating cold and abstract principles. For example: To answer the question, “What does it mean for someone to conserve their culture, native language? Why do people demand it?” and to share the answers with the public opinion.
There are many things to do to prevent the people who are living on the one part of Turkey from labeling those living in another as “traitor, separatist” simple because they demand to use of Kurdish.” Of course, meanwhile, while trying to understand the Kurds, overlooking the mental and emotional map of the Turkish public opinion has nothing to do with fairness, and at the same time, has no single contribution to the solution. I think this point should be seen, too.
Well, you see, the Kurds are making reference to the country’s Independence War just for a humane and genuine atmosphere. Though I don’t think that their thesis of “two founding elements” constitutes a good remedy, I see it as more sincere than comparing it to a vague rhetoric of democratization.
I am not an armed political struggle sympathizer, but I can also see that those persons who climb into the mountains with their weapons are not just there for economic reasons or because they are being convinced to do so; they are going after what they call a “struggle for honor.”
That’s why I believe that disarmament is going harder than thought. On the other hand, I hope that Kurds will also realize that the armed struggle will bring about nothing but heart break.
However, nothing that can be done in the short tem will be enough to eradicate the decades-old mutual distrust. The Turks will continue to describe all what’s done within the frame of democratization as moves to “surrender,” whereas the Kurds will view as “deceit.”
Let’s get it
I always say it: “Better late then never.” Let’s sit and talk about everything. Let’s resist all those who try to stop us talking. But, on the other hand, let’s end this distrust, insincerity… Otherwise, we’ll enter into a very dark tunnel; let’s all see this.
Whatever the importance of the security of energy routes in the northern Iraq, and whatever the bosses say, the fundamental issue is peace. Let’s not take the issue lightly, but if we cannot provide it, there will be neither energy routes nor energy for living.
Nuray Mert is a columnist for the daily Hürriyet in which this piece appeared Monday. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.