Jul 05 2018

Dark days for the Kurds need action – Arif Qurbany

Turkey’s Kurdish minority is faced with dark days due to the alliance between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) and an ultranationalist group in parliament, writes Arif Qurbany for Kurdish news website Rudaw.

The presidential system to be introduced by Erdogan will also pose a threat to the Kurds, who have been short-sighted and helped pave the way for one-man rule in Turkey, said Qurbany, an author on the plight of the Kurds, including Saddam Hussein's massacre of Kurdish civilians in the 1990's.

The Kurds may have made a mistake by not accepting an offer by Erdogan following elections in June 2015, which saw his AKP lose its legislative majority. Kurdish ooliticians could have formed committees with the AKP to change the constitution in their favour, but chose to reject the offer, he said.

Now the AKP’s alliance with the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) “represents Turkish chauvinism, puts at risk the future of Kurds in Turkey,” Qurbany said. “The more influence and stronger position this party has in the government, the more Kurdish rights will be restricted.”

Instead of harking back to what could have been, the Kurds need an action plan, said Qurbany.

“If we fail to see and learn from these bitter realties, we will continue making the same mistakes,” he said. “The Turkish fascist agenda will realize its goals and Kurds will consequently be oppressed more.”

So the Kurds have few choices. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has suffered defeats in Syria and Iraq. "It “can regroup and reverse the situation by taking the battle to the heart of Turkish territory,” Qurbany said. “Otherwise, they should declare an end to their armed endeavours at least temporarily and turn the Kurdish struggle into civil endeavours.”

Another option would be for the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), which emerged strongly from the June 24 parliamentary elections in Turkey, to form an alliance with the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), whose presidential candidate Muharrem Ince had pledged to take the Kurdish problem to parliament.

 “This will embarrass the Kurds affiliated with Erdogan’s parties, and might even lead to the collapse of the AKP-MHP alliance,” Qurbany said.

With more than sixty parliamentary seats, the HDP could alternatively team up with about 80 Kurdish deputies in the AKP to change Erdogan’s vision and convince him to return to the peace process, Qurbany said.