Now is the test time for Turkey's Kurds

Published 24.06.2015 22:37
Updated 25.06.2015 09:34

With the formality of the swearing in of the newly elected Parliament over, it is time for everyone to get down to business. The newly elected deputies were parading with pride on Tuesday in the parliamentary corridors while everyone was busy asking the question of which parties will form the new coalition. There was no early elections mood but that is normal. After all who wants to have "renewed elections" after spending so much money on being elected? There is now talk that a coalition may be in the offing between the former ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and either the Republican People's Party (CHP) or the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

Meanwhile the Kurdish issue seems to be on hold. Thus the Kurds are put in waiting and the PKK remains inactive for the time being, avoiding participating in terrorist activities. These are hard times when everyone has to prove themselves and that sense is felt more than ever in the Kurdish political movement, which managed to enter Parliament with 80 deputies for the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) that won 13 percent of the votes in the June 7 elections. Now the Kurdish political movement has to show it is an effective and, more importantly, a constructive player in Turkish politics. The Kurdish political movement has now been effectively integrated into the political system, which means it can now push for the disarmament of the PKK as the Kurds no longer need arms to push their cause. They have a good, viable and effective voice that can make an impact.

The parliamentary system in Turkey has been strengthened and the legality of the Parliament of Turkey has been endorsed. It has also bolstered the Kurdish political movement in Turkey and has made the arms of the PKK redundant. The Kurds now can boast that they have a legal, viable and peaceful political entity and thus become a political actor in Turkey. When the HDP managed to win 13 percent of the votes and gained the chance to increase these votes and now can even think about becoming a partner in a coalition, there is no longer a reason for the Kurdish problem to be solved through violence and arms. Thus there are two major issues.

One is the fact that the HDP should make an effort to keep the PKK at bay and create the environment of trust by ending the PKK pressure on the people of the eastern and southeastern provinces. The PKK should not threaten the local people and try to take matters into its own hands in several major settlements like Lice and Cizre. This is easier said than done but when you have the backing of the masses, which has been proven in the elections, that is your strength. The HDP has to prove what it is worth.

On the other hand, whoever forms the government has to address the Kurdish issue in earnest and wipe the image that the peace and reconciliation process is only a ploy to buy time and that Ankara in fact has no intention of doing anything about the Kurdish issue.

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