By Bülent Keneş, Today's Zaman
The results of the July 22 elections continue to be discussed despite the fact that it has been nearly a month since they took place. One of the most significant results of these elections is that the Kurds who, as they put it, hadn't been represented in Parliament since 1993, now have enough deputies to allow them to form a group. The common ground, where everyone seeks remedies to troubles only within democracy, implies that the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party's (DTP) deputies presence in Parliament presents golden opportunities for a lasting solution to the Kurdish problem.
The warm handshakes between the DTP deputies and the MHP deputies, who entered Parliament with the help of their ethnic-based politics, were generally recognized as a good start and also frustrated all expectations that tension would arise between them. However, in order for this optimistic environment to continue, it is obvious that huge responsibilities are incumbent on all parties in Parliament, particularly on the MHP and the DTP. The heaviest responsibility will fall on the DTP deputies, who are naturally scrutinized by the media and institutions with every step they take.
Additionally, in looking at their pre-election statements during their campaigns and afterward, it's not quite possible to say that the DTP deputies are united around a single idea. Just as there are those who defend a unitary state among them, there are also those who voice the idea that the country should be divided into states, assuming a federal structure. Who knows -- there may be those among them who might be hoping, albeit inaudibly, that a certain region of the country be separated. With its current structure the DTP gives the impression of a coalition group, where all sorts of tendencies gather in an effort to represent Kurds who embraced ethnic-based left-wing politics rather than that of a homogenous Kurdish party united around the same ideological view.
At this point differentiating between nuances in the views of Leyla Zana and Ahmet Türk and highlighting the differences of Aysel Tuğluk and Akın Birdal from them legitimize our wish to question what sort of common motivation brings these pro-Kurdish politicians together. Classified by some as Öcalan opponents and Massoud Barzani supporters, the deputies' most fundamental duty is to understand that they are each a deputy of Turkey and to prove that they have this awareness -- all without overlooking the demands of their own voters. We must hereby note that their performance since the elections sends out positive signals in this regard. What is being wondered by many is how long this positive atmosphere will last.
The chief question all the parties, particularly the MHP, the CHP and the DTP, should focus on in the new term is why they couldn't garner votes from all ethnic backgrounds, religious groups and social classes as the AK Party did. Within this context, instead of following primitive, ethnic-based policies, it is mandatory for the DTP to at least develop policies that will help them get votes from leftist Turks from all over the country who support liberties.
It's high time we started to appreciate that the main problem of the Kurds should be analyzed within the socioeconomic framework of achieving a standard of welfare that will allow them to live like human beings, receive good services in education and health and in all social spheres and good businesses or be employed in decent jobs. What behooves the DTP deputies is that they should first push aside abusive ideology-based, unrealistic remarks and the impossible-to-reach utopias fed by separatism, and then start caring about the socioeconomic needs of the people they represent, in addition to their political needs.
A DTP that appears to be bound to a solely political agenda by disregarding socioeconomic needs will, in the next election, have a zero chance against the AK Party, which we expect will seriously set about improving the socioeconomic conditions of the region heavily populated by Kurds.
Just like the AK Party, the platform with the biggest Kurdish representation, has been doing, the DTP should also create realistic projects to facilitate improvement in people's lives by immediately ceasing to congregate around the axis of some factions of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and putting a stop to surreal ideological remarks. The DTP should never forget that ideological heroism and utopias never have any chance of winning against the realities of life. As Kurdism can't replace welfare, separatism isn't a cozy home and ideological rhetoric doesn't equal a slice of bread.
Last Mod: 20 Ağustos 2007, 10:38