Turkey is entering a new era in which democracy is growing stronger; all ideas can be brought into the political arena and flourish into political parties as long as they are free of violence. Previously, even iterating the word "Kurdistan" was regarded as a sign of separatism; today however, a party whose name includes this word and overtly targets separatism can be established in Turkey. Kurdish politics, was able to escape the tutelage of both the PKK and military, is diversifying now. Those who asserted for many years that the reconciliation process could not make any progress as they could not join active politics used to verbalize the necessity of what is being done now, and I do not think that they feel ashamed of throwing mud at the reconciliation process.
Last week, a Kurdish group issued a petition to the Interior Ministry for the formation of a new party named "Partiya Azadiya Kurdistan" (PAK), meaning "Kurdistan Freedom Party," and held the press reception in Taksim last Saturday.
For me, any non-violent political opinion can transform into a party, so, a party, which aims to form a Kurdish state without resorting to violence is a democratic gain for Turkey. This does not necessarily mean advocating separatism; rather, it means defending Kurds' right to verbalize their request for a free Kurdistan. Turkey can solve many of its problems if such a clear distinction can be made in all matters. Moreover, last summer, Turkish Kurdistan Democratic Party (T-KDP) was officially founded with the permission of the Supreme Court of Appeals prosecutor's office. So, this is not the first Kurdish political attempt to have succeeded.
I interviewed the PAK's vice chairman Ali Fikri Işık asking him about the allegations that the party could not get approval from the Interior Ministry. He said, "We prepared our credentials in accordance with the political parties law and offered them to the Interior Ministry. The ministry needs to give proof of receipt, showing that it received our credentials. They have not given it yet. They gave the same document to the T-KDP three months after they applied."
Concerning the goals of the party, Işık said, "We are in favor of every type of solution, including autonomy, federation and confederation. What is important and primary is not about in which Kurdistan we will live, but rather, how a union will form to establish Kurdistan. We are strongly against violence; we have a Gandhist philosophy regarding civil disobedience. We aspire for Kurds' enthusiasm, not their anger."
The two Kurdish parties that were established one after the other show that laying down arms opens political channels. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government initiated the reconciliation process by taking risks that so far no governments could have dared to undertake. Although this is a long and difficult path, the government took this risk as it wanted the country to live in peace. Now this venture is bearing fruit. The process is working out and Turkey is moving toward a true democracy.