The “road map” prepared by outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, leader Abdullah Öcalan will most likely be released this week, although he planned to announce it Aug. 15, the 25th anniversary of the group’s first raids in the Southeast.
I say “most likely” because a meeting between Öcalan and his lawyers, scheduled for Wednesday, may not have taken place, or perhaps the text is not yet complete.
Another problem is that his lawyers, under normal conditions, cannot have access to the notebooks in which Öcalan has been writing his thoughts on the road map. Even if an exception is made this time, the notebooks may not be submitted to them immediately. By this I mean that the notebooks may be released after a series of examinations. In this case, his lawyers will likely delay the press conference for a few days.
The most probable scenario could be that Öcalan will summarize the road map and his lawyers will write this down for a later release. We would not know if his supposed words had been scanned or changed by officials, but this is a possibility. So the public will hear of Öcalan’s road map Thursday at the earliest.
Öcalan continues not to give any hope
On July 23, I wrote that I was not hopeful about the Öcalan statement. First, I thought he would continue to use the PKK’s existence and its power to continue the armed struggle as blackmail. Since then, many articles have been published on Öcalan, but we have not been given any sign of “unconditional disarmament.” Second, I brought to my readers’ attention the fact that Öcalan is egotistical, so he would exaggerate his power because of the public interest in his remarks. For me, it was difficult to imagine that Öcalan, in such a psychological state, could draw a useful road map. In fact, we have learned that he is filling up notebooks.
Though Öcalan continues not to give any hope, this does not change the fact that he is, legally or illegally, still the number-one man of the Kurdish movement in Turkey. Therefore, no one can deny the Öcalan factor in the future of the state’s Kurdish initiative – neither those who seem sincere about finding a solution nor those who favor the status quo.
Sad if opportunists can sabotage
On the other hand, Öcalan’s being a reality does not mean that he is untouchable. During the Kurdish workshop held at the Police Academy, I said: “Especially Kurdish intellectuals, opinion leaders who are important for the Kurdish grassroots, should not hesitate to criticize this movement, i.e. the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP, and Öcalan.” I even engaged in a battle of words with some of my colleagues over the issue.
One of the most critical moments in the Kurdish initiative was the meeting between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and DTP leader Ahmet Türk. Assuming that the efforts of the opposition parties – primarily the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, as well as the Republican People’s Party, or CHP – are purely natural, the most critical remarks or moves that have cast a shadow over the Kurdish initiative have clearly come from the Kurdish movement. Starting with DTP Deputy Emine Ayna, the reluctantly issued statements of DTP officials and the cryptic remarks of Öcalan’s lawyers make this process more difficult.
It will be very sad if some opportunists sabotage this historic opportunity for Turkey. We will see if Öcalan will prevent this cheap opportunism from doing so.
* Ruşen Çakır is a columnist for daily Vatan, in which this piece appeared Wednesday. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.