ANF – NEWS DESK 28.08.2013 – Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) Presidency Council member, Duran Kalkan spoke to Özgur Politika about the current process and its difficulties.
“The process of solution is not negotiated only by the PKK and the AKP. – he said – We believe that such a process evaluation is wrong. The PKK has initiated a process that gives the opportunity to many sections of society to participate. The resistance in Gezi Park is also a consequence of this process”.
Kalkan underlined that “The development of democracy is not for the AKP alone to do. Nor can it only be the task of the PKK. All sections of society must be aware of their responsibility to work with other democratic forces on a wider context and make the necessary efforts. Because all these people need democracy”.
It is said that the solution process stalled. But the process launched at the festival of Newroz was not based on an agreement?
In the new democratic solution process initiated by our president, there are some difficulties and problems. Because the two sides have different objectives and there are differences of opinion. Contrary to what some believe and support, the process does not take place on the basis of an agreement. Things are not so: there was no prior agreement between the two parties and then the development of the process. Alongside the concept that fighting should end and the phase in which ideas should speak instead of arms should begin, there is no agreement between the parties. This means that the problems must be resolved with a democratic struggle. From this point of view, it is a complex process and overall resistance. There are of course some circles which transmit the idea that the process should take place without resistance, hence the talks of stall and deadlock.
Are you saying that the process to a certain extent is knowingly being conveyed in the wrong way?
Some may think that this will lead to the defeat of the PKK. No one should dream of such a thing. The PKK is the key to solving this Kurdish and democratisation of Turkey. If the key is lost, everybody will loose.
Öcalan said that the process has entered the second phase. However, the Turkish side said that you can not enter the second phase before completing the first. What are the intentions of the Turkish government?
President Apo delivered to us and the government a third Roadmap. As you know, he had filed a roadmap earlier, in August 2009. He presented the second in May 2011 [as part of the Oslo-Imralı] in the form of three protocols. Both were rejected by the government and the Turkish state. The Roadmap presented in 2013 is now the third. In it, along with the basics of democratisation and democratic solution to the Kurdish issue, and along to the philosophical part, there is a plan of action. The so-called phases correspond to this plan of action. The first phase is the ceasefire. It began with the phase launched on Newroz and continued since the beginning of June. The second phase has been defined as democratisation. It began in early June and should be completed by 2013. The third phase has been defined as normalisation. After the success of the first two phases the third phase towards a lasting peace should begin. For this stage not defined period of time has been set.
And was there Roadmap of this type …?
Yes, we moved on this basis. We have fulfilled the tasks we had with respect to the first phase.
Can you list the details again?
Before Newroz the PKK released the prisoners. On March 23, we declared a cease-fire which is still on. On April 25, we announced the retreat of the guerrillas that began on May 8. The first groups of fighters have reached the place of retreat between 14 and 15 May. So as far as we are concerned the first phase has been implemented.
In this phase what has the AKP government done?
The AKP at this stage had some activities, but it was not so clear, quick. They ceased operations. The Wise People Commission was an important development in this phase. Another committee was formed in the parliament, so the parliament has been involved in the process.
And were there any decisions or actions which hindered your work?
Sure, let me explain: military operations have ceased, but not the construction of military posts, reconnaissance flights of the drones, the recruitment of village guards and the construction of roads and dams for military purposes. On this we have been critical from the outset. We have declared that the sole cessation of operations was an insufficient move, because military activities that contradict the spirit of the process should be stopped as well. The AKP has not stopped all this. The Prime Minister and the AKP spokesperson have repeatedly said they would not cease these activities.
The Wise People Commission has been doing a superficial work. It is only a commission to draw up reports and do little propaganda among the population.
There are also those who say it is the PKK which slows down and hinders progress…
This statement shows a lack of respect. We have taken risks and worked.
What can you say of the current policy of the AKP?
The reality that can be observed is the following: the AKP does not want to stop the process, but do not even want to do what is necessary for the progress of the process. He wants a continuation of the process, but not democratic transformations and a democratic political solution to the Kurdish question. This is the policy of the AKP. Everyone should recognise it. It’s nothing new: it’s always been that way.
If the AKP is so unreliable and so undemocratic, why has the PKK initiated a process like this?
You see, the AKP is not strong. The AKP is weakened and especially under pressure. It has not, as is often claimed, emerged strengthened from the elections of 2012. Even in the armed clashes in 2011 and 2012 it has not been successful. For this it is currently afraid of losing its position of power. So it is under pressure. The elections are approaching and definitely the AKP wants to win this election. To win the election, it needs a ceasefire, a peaceful atmosphere. And this is in the hands of the PKK. Now, if to maintain power you need a ceasefire, you must give something in return. And on this point, the PKK has its own requirements. And the PKK wants a complete democratisation of Turkey. There is no other way. If the AKP accept this, it can win the election. If it does not, the elections will not be accompanied by a ceasefire. (…) The Kurdish liberation movement wants to use this situation for the benefit of the peoples of Turkey and the Kurdish people.
So, has the government’s plan “ceasefire – peaceful atmosphere – victory in the elections” failed?
The plan is partially failed. We try to give the process a much greater depth. Instead of a mere ceasefire we began the withdrawal and in return we asked to make steps towards the solution of the Kurdish question. Despite the AKP we have brought the process to this point. And along with all democratic forces and revolutionary we will try to bring it forward.
But the AKP has a different option other to engage in the process?
I think so. It can make some superficial changes to laws that do not go in the direction of democratisation, but only to further strengthen its power. By doing so it can even come closer to a new constitution and mislead public opinion. It can say: “Look, I kept my word and put in place the necessary changes” to remove in this way the pressure in favour of democratic reforms that weighs on his shoulders.
What advantages does the AKP hope to achieve with this behaviour?
With this behaviour, the AKP wants to win the election! It is completely focused on the fact of winning the elections. And with this behaviour it hopes to avoid the pressure of having to initiate a genuine democratisation process.
And despite this strategy, is it still possible to induce the AKP to start this process?
As I said, the AKP is not ready to spontaneously carrying out a democratisation process. For example they recently stated that they are not ready to lower the electoral threshold. This means that the AKP does not want to touch the setting of the constitution that derives from the military coup of 1980. They want to use this setting for their own interests. I do not believe that the attitude of the AKP on this point can change.
But in fact this is only theory. However, the AKP, precisely when it is in trouble, may be pushed to take steps towards the democratisation of the country. On this the AKP proceeds in a very pragmatic way. To maintain its power is ready to do everything, even if worse come to worse to take steps towards a democratisation of the country. If the pressure on the AKP is strengthened, it will also have to make compromises.
How can pressure being strengthened? How democratic forces in Turkey can enter the process of solution?
If the democratic forces take position correctly and make a strong resistance, they can induce the AKP to take the right steps. This is the uniqueness of the solution process. This task falls on democratic forces, the oppressed peoples, women, youth, workers. If these realities pulled themselves away from the solution process and think that the solution is negotiated solely between the PKK and the AKP, they make a mistake. The process of solution is not negotiated only between the PKK and the AKP.
What urgent steps must be taken for the process to move forward and resolve the concerns within the society?
In the first place the denial of the Kurdish people’s very existence in the Constitution must be overcome. Secondly, there is a need to improve the conditions of detention of our president. These for us are conditions that are essential for progress. This we have also declared to the public. At this point I can also say that we have been assured that on these conditions there will be some openings. The constitution should be drafted in such a way that no longer allows for the denial of Kurds; this we have been told. As to the situation of our president we have been told that there would be improvements. As a result doctors will be able to visit him without any problems. Besides the conditions for our president to be able to work properly are being considered. We are told they are doing the necessary things for this to be achieved. But so far we see nothing.
Öcalan said that by October, the process should be completed …
Certainly, we too ask that by the middle of October a profound democratic reform is made. This would be tantamount to a democratic revolution in Turkey and we will support such a revolution with all our strength. We are ready. But if this does not work, no one should think that the PKK and Kurds have no alternatives. We are also prepared for this eventuality. We are aware that the opposite can occur, that there may be dangerous developments. It is not my intention to threaten or warn anyone with these statements. I just want the facts to be known to the public at the right time. For this reason we say that by the middle of October the conditions of our president need to be improved and the profound democratic reform should be initiated. Everyone should know their duties, the parliament could renounce to its holidays and the parliamentary committee should work harder. We are in a extraordinary phase, so everyone has to live up to their responsibilities.