Something like three years ago, the government launched a political process called the reconciliation process. The government then asked a group of intellectuals from diverse fields to contribute to it.
Members of this group made visits across the country to meet people representing diverse sensibilities. The purpose was to listen to them rather than to talk. The aim of the group was to contribute to peace, brotherhood between peoples and to avoid more deaths. Their message was that political and social problems can be solved only through negotiating through peaceful means.
At the time, members of the group had to face some deep-rooted prejudices among the ordinary people, such as the belief that Turks are paying for the illegal electricity used by Kurds in the east. They noticed how nationalist rhetoric had shaped peoples' perceptions, and they tried to explain that salvation will come from defending other social and ethnic groups' rights as one's own.
Those who were against the process accused this Wisemen Council of being paid government agents, and they were even accused of being Justice and Development Party (AK Party) or PKK instruments.
Those people, however, were independent intellectuals whose only common point was their convictions. They believe Kurds have indeed many problems in Turkey, as Turks do, and the Kurdish issue, along with the Alevi issue, should be dealt with quickly and peacefully to allow Turkey to move forward.
Members of this group worked in quite difficult conditions, sometimes facing death threats. We learn now that while these people were risking their lives to explain the benefits of peace, some people were busy stocking weapons in southeastern towns and cities. It seems these people considered the cease-fire period as an opportunity to gain strength. We ignore what these cities and towns' mayors and police chiefs were doing when all this had happened.
Now these weapons are being used and the peace efforts have all been wasted.
I wonder whether or not what is going on now will serve the interests of those who want autonomy. Police officers and soldiers are being killed, but the number of Kurds who have lost their lives is much higher. Many people have lost their homes, jobs and schools. The number of troops deployed in the region has grown much larger.
And in addition, the nation has become further polarized. It has become very hard for Turks to evoke Kurds' problems. Ordinary people start to believe there is no way other than the use of weapons to solve this problem. In other words, no one dares emphasize the social and political aspects of the issue, as the security aspect occupies the forefront.
How, one may think, under these circumstances, are those who have turned their weapons against the state willing to solve the Kurds' political or social problems? Or maybe they do not want the current government as their interlocutor in peace talks. Yet the governing party is supported by half of the population, and there is not any other political actor who enjoys such an amount of support in today's Turkey. Maybe all this is about foreign players who dislike the current government or who just want to give it a different orientation.
It is common knowledge that any government would adopt firm measures when a terrorist threat emerges. It seems the PKK and the forces behind it want Turkey to act more like a security state, and to become a militarist, authoritarian and a less democratic country. Whose interests will be served by that kind of Turkey? That is the main question.