Violence, ballots and democracy

Published 14.04.2015 22:21
Updated 14.04.2015 22:22

The recent conflict that began with the PKK firing on soldiers in the field in the eastern province of Ağrı has rightfully provoked some anxieties about the future of the reconciliation process.

This issue needs to be discussed on two different levels, the first being the level the reconciliation process is at.The reconciliation process can be finalized if Turkey succeeds in ridding itself of the armed conflict that has been ongoing for 40 years and if the democratization process in Turkey gains momentum after the PKK lays down its arms. The most crucial aspect of this process is the PKK's disarmament, as was declared during the 2013 Nevruz celebrations. But when the attack by the 25-strong armed group, which continued for about seven or eight hours, is considered, it seems that hardly any steps have been taken in this regard and that armed forces and arms were being stockpiled in Turkey at the same time as negotiations with the government were taking place.

The reconciliation process must be kept independent from concerns of whether an organization targets democracy or not. If there is a problem, it should be resolved in some way. Therefore, the reconciliation process must continue in any case.

A strange fact stands out in the context of the conflict. PKK militants did not attack the soldiers directly. They took over an active function to influence voters in favor of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). The attack took place when the armed forces intervened in this.

This attack, of course, does not indicate the importance the PKK attaches to democracy since the primary condition of attaching importance to democracy is ending the armed conflict. Another condition is refraining from forcing voters and respecting their freedom to choose. It is known that during the last few elections the PKK tried to suppress politicians and opinion leaders who might offer an alternative to the HDP in the eastern and southeastern regions by force of arms. This is anti-democratic behavior without a doubt. Despite its anti-democratic behavior, the PKK formally takes heed of election results. This attention belongs to a context that is quite different from the examples of the dictatorial systems in the former Soviet Union or the Middle East, which also pay attention to election results.

It is quite evident that he PKK's aim is to help the HDP pass the 10 percent election threshold at all costs. This has several consequences. The first would be that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) would not have a chance to make a new constitution on its own if the HDP passes the threshold. And when the AK Party loses its chance of coming to power without having to form a coalition, a weaker and less stable political will would be formed in the reconciliation process, which would make things easier for the PKK and the HDP. Also, since the AK Party would have a minimum number of deputies from eastern provinces in such a scenario, the HDP will be able to provide evidence both in the country and on the international arena that it is the only representative of Kurds.

This is a crucial point since the HDP is not supported by the majority of Kurds despite all of its propaganda. The AK Party has at least as much legitimacy as the HDP in the eyes of Kurdish voters and has many Kurdish politicians in significant positions. In the Cabinet, in Parliament, in all fundamental political institutions that exercise sovereignty, Kurds can participate as equal citizens and sharers of sovereignty. This obstructs the work of the PKK and the HDP and other similar propaganda tools.

If the PKK had not imposed such a function on the HDP, it would not intervene in electoral work to such an extent. But this fact also demonstrates the organic link between the PKK and the HDP. Consequently, the meaning the PKK attributes to the election results is not related to democracy. On the contrary, the group estimates that it could obtain a result that it could achieve by force of arms by hiding its arms behind the curtain. They can achieve the same anti-democratic results disguised behind a democratic image.

Loudly expressing notions of peace, democracy and freedom without laying down arms will not make room for doing politics another way.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Disclaimer: All rights of the published column/article are reserved by Turkuvaz Media Group. The entire column/article cannot be used without special permission even if the source is shown.
However, quoted column/article can be partly used by providing an active link to the quoted news. Please click for details..