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Another option is still possible in Syria

13 22 0

The ceasefire (in the words of the U.S.) or the pause (in the words of Turkey) in the Syrian operation will not deliver an end to the imbroglio. Neither scandalous letters nor preposterous Orientalist comments from the US president will yield a viable peace deal in Syria. Constantly bashing Turkey or lamenting in anguish about how everything plays into the hands of Putin will only consolidate the diverse forces behind the crisis.

If you are one of those who sees Turkey as part of the problem, I will tell you one thing: Turkey is also the most essential element of the solution. It was only six years ago that Turkey was negotiating a peace deal with the Kurdish movement. Peace seemed possible. I argue that it still is.

When the zealous machinery of war—any war—starts operating, the sounds it makes feeds into the primitive feelings of human nature and makes any thick-centered ideology thicker. The machinery, indeed, is designed in such a way to turn the already-fallible human memory into mush. I see one of the critical tasks of journalists as setting the record straight and leaving an avenue of facts for historians to dig up fifty years on. This is what I will attempt today, hoping—at least briefly—to interrupt the sound of the war machinery and inject a droplet of life into the mush. Let’s get going then: we have numerous signposts to follow.

Winter 2013

The then-Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan announced during a TV interview that Turkish intelligence (MIT) had started a dialogue with Abdullah Öcalan, who, after his capture in 1999, had been imprisoned for life on Imrali, an island in the Sea of Marmara. The public learned of the peace process through Erdogan’s words. Two days after this announcement, Erdogan vowed to “drink poison hemlock” if necessary to pursue the peace process, implying he was ready to go ahead regardless of the political cost. There was no backlash from the public or the parliament, except the leader of the nationalist party MHP (National Action Party). The CHP (Republican People’s Party), the main opposition, saluted the attempt by the AKP to solve the Kurdish conflict. A poll conducted in the spring of 2013 revealed that 81% of respondents opined that a solution to the Kurdish conflict would work for the good of everyone. Another survey disclosed by Erdogan showed that 64% supported a peace process.

A blow to peace by Gülenists

Eleven days after Erdogan declared a peace process, news from Paris rocked the Kurdish movement. Three female PKK members—Sakine Cansız, Fidan Doğan, and Leyla Sönmez—were killed. This was no small incident. Cansız was one of Öcalan’s close associates and part of the PKK founding team. The murder could have derailed the peace process before it started; however, it did not. This was because the hitman, Ömer Güney, was arrested by the French poliçe. The investigation papers leaked to Le Monde in 2015 revealed that Güney was working for Turkey’s intelligence agency. But which MIT? The Paris prosecutor remarked that the members of the Gülen movement within MIT might be responsible for the attack.........

© Duvar English