Déjà vu
On Sept. 28 I wrote a piece titled "'Peace' season has arrived once more," and explained Turkish intellectuals' empty obsession with bringing "peace" every fall season. In that article I listed the same old stories about peace and argued that "in our country, peace is like a chrysanthemum; as an intellectual ambition, peace arrives in our country in newspaper columns every November. …In every season of peace -- in the winter months, when the [Kurdistan Workers' Party] PKK retreats -- a Kurdish leader [usually Jalal Talabani] brings a message of peace from northern Iraq to our country. In this country, peace is comparable to a flock of migratory birds: it arrives in October or November every year. Pro-negotiation left-wing intellectuals sing the same song every fall. In every season of peace, we believe in the same lie. We are immediately deceived in this season that peace is about to arrive in our land."
I concluded my article by underlining my expectations for 2012: "Every fall, a journalist goes to Kandil and brings back a message of peace. It was Ertuğtul Mavioğlu in 2010 and Hasan Cemal in 2011. This year, Avni Özgürel rushed to undertake this mission, but I suppose a journalist will bring this message soon. This message will hold until next spring."

Right on target! No surprise again. This year, in the same month, November, Cemal once again went to northern Iraq and brought the "expected peace messages" from Kurdish leaders with one slight difference; this time both Massoud Barzani and Talabani sent peace messages.

Talabani said the same old thing, that the PKK was going to lay down its arms, etc. Once again Turkish intellectuals paid too much attention to what Talabani said, which is nothing but a means of providing some space and time for the PKK to prepare for its terror campaign in spring again.

It seems that it is a fact that as long as Turkish intellectuals continue to pump empty peace messages to the Turkish public, the PKK will continue to intensify its terror campaign. Because whenever "peace season" arrives, left-wing intellectuals dominate public opinion, and while the public is busy discussing possible peace, the PKK prepares itself to hit harder and achieve more.

Since 2009, empty "peace" talk has dominated the Turkish political sphere but the PKK continues to grow. It should be other way around. For instance, since 2009, the PKK has managed to psychologically dominate major Kurdish cities, especially Hakkari, Sırnak and Diyarbakır. Before 2009, the people of Diyarbakır were able to resist the PKK's demands, but today it is impossible to do so.

Two striking examples show us the PKK's psychological domination over Diyarbakır. Back in 2006, when the PKK asked shop owners to close their shops as part of a protest organized by the PKK, many shop owners did not obey their demands at that time. Because of that, PKK militants stoned the shops that were left open.

A similar demand was put forward two weeks ago in Diyarbakır to support the hunger strike conducted by PKK militants in prisons. Not surprisingly, almost all of the shop owners in Diyarbakır had to obey the PKK's call because since 2009, the PKK has expanded its domination and suppressed opposing views in the region.

There are many examples that show the PKK's domination in the region. Even Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan implicitly accepts this fact and had asked opposition groups why didn't they walk down the streets of Hakkari waving the Turkish flag, implying that, for political reasons, walking in Hakkari with a Turkish flag is impossible. If it is not possible to walk with the Turkish flag in a city, and if the prime minister has acknowledged this fact, is that city still our city?

All in all, this year we did not miss out on the "peace season," but I miss real peace, which is possible only when we, the intellectuals, give up our romantic dreams of peace and talk about what is possible and what is not.

Otherwise the déjà vu we see every November will continue to erode our hopes for real peace…

EMRE USLU (Cihan/Today's Zaman) CİHAN
Last Modified: 2012-11-17 12:00:02
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