Since the foundation of the Republic of Turkey, the reconciliation process is one of the most invaluable notions in Turkey's history. The Kurdish question is by far the most important issue in the country, as 30,000 people have been killed, a large part of Turkey's resources were wasted and not only the development of the region in question, but also that of the whole country itself was curbed just in the last three decades.
The Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) political power that lasted 13 years was marked with a determination not only to boost the country's devastated economy to the level of developed countries, but also to enhance its political and cultural standards through comprehensive democratic reforms. Turkey's Jacobins, who formerly controlled the state apparatus, denominate our present democracy as a dictatorship simply because they cannot take back the political power that they lost through ordinary democratic channels. Behind their oppositional discourse of democracy, they even uphold the one-party system of İsmet İnönü, as long as they control it.
Turkey's democratization as a whole, and rooted reforms in line with the membership standards of the European Union, could have not by themselves resolved the Kurdish question. Although a citizen in Diyarbakır was holding the same rights of a citizen in İzmir, the bitter past of the Kurdish issue and the terrorist PKK's armed presence in the region necessitated the initiation of specific and direct reforms.
During its 13 years of political power, the AK Party abolished the emergency laws and minimized civilian casualties throughout the state's struggle against terror; prioritized the development of the region and boosted its infrastructure in education, health and transportation; enacted homecoming laws backed up by an economic aid of $4 billion for Kurdish peasants who were forcefully displaced from their hometowns and villages in the 1990s; organized national campaigns for enhancing education, especially for girls in southeastern regions, and invigorated the region's economy through not only public investments, but also investment incentives for the private sector.In the beginning of the reconciliation process, both friends and enemies of Turkey were aware of the fact that the process would crown those aforementioned developments in the resolution of the Kurdish question and eventually lead Turkey to becoming the leader of its region. While the majority of Turkish citizens embraced the process with fervor, the enemies of Turkey did their best to prevent its completion.
About the author
İhsan Aktaş is Chairman of the Board of GENAR Research Company. He is an academic at the Department of Communication at Istanbul Medipol University.