Monday, 05 April 2021 17:26

The Necessity of the Superior Mind on the Basis of the National Unity and Brotherhood Project

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"...Although parties, governments and organizations involved in the process develop discourses and policies that result from cyclical pressures on their bases and shift to populism, NGOs and media need to create synergies for the continuity of the process with different presentations that will strengthen the process, away from these populist approaches. In this way, the parties taking the initiative are presented with different locations and reminded that the road map determined is not final and that permanent peace is the final one..."

The peace process, which was initiated on the basis of the National Unity and Brotherhood Project, continues to be seen as sustainable by the majority of the society, even though it caused undesirable breaks after the 6-8 October events initiated under the pretext of Kobani.

In the booklet published by the AK Party with the title "Democratic Initiative Process" in 2010, it was emphasized that the bureaucratic authoritarian state understanding based on the logic of security in terms of sensitivities would be avoided on the basis of the fact that it deepened the problems in the long run, and it was proved to the public opinion that care was given to this on a macro scale during the functioning process. The Wise People Committee (Akil İnsanlar Heyeti) formed within this framework has undertaken a very important role in determining social sensitivities, informing the public about the democratic initiative and the solution process, and it will have to maintain this role for a long time. When we look at the peace processes carried out in different geographies around the world, it would not be an exaggeration to say that this process, which was actually started in Turkey, is in its infancy. However, we need to give credit to some of the two groups who are not convinced or unable to do this by saying that faster and more important steps have been taken than their counterparts in the world in showing and accepting that the peace process is progressing on solid ground.

Although the reasons for the existence of organizations in conflict with governments or regimes in different parts of the world are on different grounds, they show similarities in terms of peace processes. In Philippines, there has been a war between the army and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerrillas for nearly 40 years, in which up to 120,000 people lost their lives. The sides have been negotiating to end the war, albeit intermittently, for 17 years. A final agreement is said to be signed in late 2015. Turkey also played an active role in these ongoing and agreed peace talks between Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. As a matter of fact, the Free Aceh Movement in Indonesia has been in conflict with the government since 1976. As a result of the ongoing negotiations, the leader of the organization, Irwandi Yusuf, had openly declared his route as “we decided not to use weapons and from now on we will fight through political means”. As seen in Northern Ireland, peace negotiations lasted for years and the peace process, which was officially accepted to have started in 1994, resulted in the IRA ceasing fire in 2005. The death of Bobby Sands, who entered the British Parliament as an independent MP from Northern Ireland in 1981, on hunger strike in prison should be seen as one of the important milestones of the conflict process. After this death, supporters of the IRA became heavily involved in the political process and Sinn Fein was established as their legal party. The new slogan of IRA supporters was "election certificate in one hand and gun in the other." The leader of the Sinn Fein Party, Gerry Adams, although there were occasional talks with the IRA in the period from when he entered the British Parliament by being elected as a member of parliament in 1983 until Tony Blair became prime minister in 1997, especially Thatcher's approach that "there is no negotiation with terrorists and the prerequisite for the meeting is that the IRA lays down its arms" prevented any kind of meeting that could be. Tony Blair's becoming prime minister in 1997 was a milestone for the Northern Ireland issue. Unlike previous governments, Blair met with Gerry Adams without any preconditions and took the political risk for himself and included Sinn Fein, the IRA's “legal arm”, in the peace process. In the words of Elçin Aktoprak, he played a kind of messianism role and displayed a determined attitude in solving the problem.

Likewise, sociological factors that underlie ETA's announcement in 2011 that it laid down its arms after 43 years of conflict play an important role in peace processes. A large part of the people in the BASQUE region took to the streets in the 1990s and formed the “Basta Ya!” (Enough is Enough) movement in the 1990s, and in these actions, ETA was demanded to end its violent actions. This grassroots movement deeply affected the entire Spanish public opinion. In our country, the sit-in protests, which were initiated by the mothers of the children who joined the PKK in mountains, aka "Mothers of Peace", with slogans such as "let peace come, let our children come home" "we want our children back" were not enough, but led to many steps being taken. NGOs should not forget that they will carry water to the fire if they implement similar social actions towards the sustainability of the process regardless of region.

It is possible to give many more examples from similar negotiation processes in the world. However, our main goal here is to point out that these processes take place in short periods of time and that there are no immediate results, and even that the "Democratic Solution Process" in Turkey is still in its early stages, noting that the conflicts continue from time to time while the negotiations are ongoing.

It is not possible to ignore the role of NGOs and the media, as well as the importance of the policies to be followed by all elements of the state and PKK, namely Öcalan, Qandil and its legal arm HDP, in order to make its progress on the road map sustainable despite some setbacks regarding the democratic solution process. Although parties, governments and organizations involved in the process develop discourses and policies that result from cyclical pressures on their bases and shift to populism, NGOs and media need to create synergies for the continuity of the process with different presentations that will strengthen the process, away from these populist approaches. In this way, the parties taking the initiative are presented with different locations and reminded that the road map determined is not final and that permanent peace is the final one.

When there is a President who sets out to make the National Unity and Brotherhood Project work and end in social peace and does not hesitate to risk his political future for this purpose, even saying “I put my life on the line for this”, adopting a pessimistic mood will not contribute to the process and will increase vulnerability. Construction processes necessarily involve more challenging conditions than conflict processes. Of course, it does not seem easy to bring the ship to safety in these difficult conditions. Physical construction is easy, but it should be noted that some things take much more time to repair in people's minds and hearts. For this, maybe we have to wait for new generations to come and maybe for the generations that have never experienced conflicts. Moreover, after almost 40 years of conflict, we cannot expect the violence to end in a few years and everything to return to normal.

As Necip Fazıl said, "beetle brow, what they call the government", the sovereign power of the state will naturally frown in phases of vulnerability. However, it is not a healthy and principled approach for the civil initiative to look from such perspective, which has become evident recently, and to frown with the state. The HDP and PKK, which fuel this approach, provoke society, misinterpret the government's public order policies, and suffer from spoiled child psychosis, should also question their own intentions and what they are aiming for a peace environment by making self-criticism instead of self-defense. In order to convince the public of their sincerity, they should refrain from taking a provocative stance. Although Cemil Bayık is still at the beginning of the process, the establishment of a monitoring committee to monitor the process, namely the "The Third Eye", will make the process more difficult than a well-intentioned and solution-oriented approach. In their own way, this is nothing but insincere strategic moves that will weaken the government's hand and drive it into a corner in the international arena. While it is known that the AK Party government set out to solve the problem with an anti-apartheid approach at the beginning of this process for the end of terrorism in Turkey, talking about a third review means giving the leverage to global hegemony by rendering the roadmap dysfunctional. In fact, what Qandil wants is the demand for a "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" under the control of global actors. Moreover, such a commission can be considered in the later stages with a common consensus, but it is very noteworthy that it is brought to the agenda in a fragile and permeable period of the region in terms of timing, and if this commission is to be established, it must be composed of local elements. US Senator George Mitchell, who was involved in the Northern Ireland peace negotiations as a mediator at the request of the parties, stated that it is not possible to have a ready-made peace plan applicable to every country that has gone through similar processes, and says: “Every conflict is unique and the circumstances of each are different. It is not right to find a single formula that fits all, and they should all be evaluated for their own uniqueness in their own historical context. Turkey has its own unique conditions. In some cases international participation may be helpful but in some it may not… Even if the violence continues, political leadership must be strong and brave, and despite doubts, it must continue negotiations.”

Considering all these experiences, the AK Party government, which holds the command, should never change its attitude about the process. It should continue to use the most effective isolation materials so that new positions in the region do not affect the peace process. As in the example of Sri Lanka and the Tigers of Tamil, which caused the death of approximately 40 thousand people, the change of attitude from the government and the impact of international developments on the process will undoubtedly cause the remedy to turn into gangrene. Therefore, taking into account the groups and opinions that will contribute to the process as much as possible, a wide-angle projection should be continued.

It is certain that there is a "superior mind" at the head of the mechanism that wants to fail the National Unity and Brotherhood Project. However, the parties must now proceed with the same will that they set out to solve the problem, and this state certainly has a "superior mind" which will be able to show this determination.

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