The Prime Minister of Turkey had told that there is no possibility they state would ever negotiate or even have contact with a terrorist organization such as PKK before the elections. Just a few months after the elections, there came out a tape with the conversation between an agent of Turkish secret service (MIT) and representatives of PKK. The important aspect in this incident is the fact that this came out as a contradictory situation when one thinks about the PM’s statements before the elections and afterwards. The fact that negotiations took place in secrecy does more harm to the negotiation process and social memory than the would-be effects of an open negotiation.
In a democratic negotiation process, transparency should be the basic principle; sides being totally aware of the agenda, clauses to be discussed, possible consequences and they need to inform and renew the support of those whom they represent. The outcome of Oslo meetings revealed that neither a negotiation nor an actual possibility of talks was unknown to Turkish electorate.
A similar situation emerged now as a result of death of 26 Turkish soldiers by PKK on October 19th. The governing AKP asked a secret meeting of the parliament, details of which would be protected as “top secret” for the next 30 years. The only known aspect of this meeting is that it would have a decisive role in the future lay out of Turkish-Kurdish peace settlement and the fight with terrorism in the region.
It is high time since the information-revolution has taken place and states have emerged as postmodern governance out of the modern state that ran on state secrets and confidentiality. A secret session in the parliament discussing the roadmap for fight against terrorism and deciding on methods of democratic transition in public policies would not have any properly positive outcome at a time when millions of people are marching in the streets and a part of the society and their property is under vital threat. At time when all parts of the society can attain information –as well as misinformation- secret sessions would only lead to further escalation of violence.
A possible peaceful meeting in the parliament to discuss plans of public policy to ease ethnic tensions currently breaking out in the country –and even spreading to region- must be held; and actually it is the only way out. There needs to be set a basic rule of transparent and sincere manner. All groups need to discuss their possible solutions openly and freely in the parliament if they wish to contain the escalating violence and tug of war.
Violence can be prevented by responsible politicians
It never suits for a politician to call forth the terms such as “revenge” in front of millions of angry people on the street demanding “massacre” and already willing to attack on civilians. No politically aware person can think he/she has a strong stand by uttering words of violence, war, threats upon the eve of a humanitarian crisis situation.
Many Turkish nationalists today march in the streets calling for revenge on the Kurdish people. Some shout “remember 1915, 1955, 1974 [Armenians, Greeks, Cyprus]” and ask for a massacre against Kurdish civilians. There are news of some groups raiding minority towns and looting Kurdish shops in Elazig.
Mother of those killed in clashes feel the same pain, no matter on what side of the mountain. In order to cease the pain they are feeling, all political groups need to act responsible and sincere, like in the case of Spanish solution to ETA. Only when politicians sincerely and openly discuss all the problems they see and all the possible solutions they demand in the parliament, can there be an environment where peace can be talked of and reasoning of violence in the streets as well as on the mountains will cease to exist.
A parliament where policies concerning ethnic and social problems are discussed in transparency may appear as a vague dream today. However, in the geography where I hope to see lasting peace, the only chance for this is to have all these debates in the parliament; otherwise the fascism with its red-hands on the street calling for war will never die out. If the republic will become a ripe democracy, then the basic principles of democratic governance must be internalized by all components of political spectrum. All those who have been victimized or wronged by the state before need to seek a solution in the parliament and the people need to trust their representatives in the parliament to be advocates of their troubles; not an armed group. But, if those members of the parliament hold sessions in secrecy on a matter that necessitates urgent solution, the outcome of that session and policies will only satisfy those who have been informed about the agenda, methods, an plans; namely, only the MPs will be sufficiently happy with a possible road map and their electorate will again be forced to keep silent. In the age of information, transparency is a necessity for peaceful outcomes of policies; not secrecy that escalates tension.