Experts hope reconciliation process will be ‘taken out of deepfreeze'
by Merve Aydoğan
ANKARANov 04, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Merve Aydoğan
Nov 04, 2015 12:00 am
With the PKK terrorist organization conducting attacks throughout the east and southeast, claiming both civilian and security officers' lives while injuring many others, government officials said months ago that the reconciliation process is on hold until all PKK weapons are buried and members leave the country. However, following the Nov. 1 election results with the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) clinching victory after securing slightly more than 49 percent of the vote, the party held a Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting late on Monday in which it said the reconciliation process can be re-launched if public order is fully restored and all terror actors in the region vanish. A prominent Kurdish expert, Vahap Coşkun, said to Daily Sabah on Tuesday that there are strong hopes for the process to begin again, as it holds a significant position in Turkey's politics. Adding to Coşkun's remarks, Murat Yeşiltaş, the director of security studies at the Ankara-based Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), said that though there is hope for the process in the long-run, it still seems unlikely in the short-term, as the PKK is in survival mode.
The recently held elections saw a 2.3 percent drop in support for the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), barely passing the 10 percent national election threshold to enter Parliament and gained fewer seats in Parliament. Coşkun said that the recent election with the HDP losing support sends a message from the people indicating that there are worries and concerns due to the ongoing conflict. Underlining that the AK Party has not changed its stance on the reconciliation process from the beginning, Coşkun said AK Party spokesman Ömer Çelik's remarks after the MYK meeting in which he said there are two requests by the party for the PKK, which include eliminating PKK provincial structures and putting down arms. As the AK party and the government's position has not changed, Coşkun said that the future of the reconciliation process depends on the attitudes of all sides. He emphasized the importance of the process and said that it will determine not only Turkey's political, but also economic and regional dynamics.
A veteran politician from the AK Party, Beşir Atalay, said that as the AK Party is the initiator of the process, this term will gain serious momentum for Turkey and issues that have piled up will all be resolved. With this perspective and positive signaling of re-launching the reconciliation process, Yeşiltaş said that there is hope for the process being resolved, however not in the short-term. He also said that as the AK party's requirements are political requests, the PKK is a terrorist organization and it is currently in survival mode due to the changing regional dynamics. However, Yeşiltaş said that the PKK could modify its strategy due to it receiving heavy losses in the recent operations conducted by Turkish security forces and the outcome of the elections. Yeşiltaş added that the Syrian crisis is an important part of the PKK's survival, as the terrorist organization try's to exist in Syria through the Democratic Union Party (PYD).