Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) former co-chair Sezai Temelli wrote an article for Yeni Özgür Politika about the Gemlik march, held on 12 June, that protests against the severe isolation policies imposed upon Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
A translation of the article is as follows:
Marching to Gemlik
The Gemlik March Against Isolation, held on 12 June, was a significant protest in many aspects. First of all, it is essential that this protest is evaluated in all of its aspects, as it is a new and important stage of a long-term and determined struggle against the policy of isolation. This protest was the first day, the first step of a great march. Although it was late, it was a correct and meaningful step in Turkish politics. The determined struggle that many political organisations put forward together with the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) against the isolation policies was perhaps the most important move to cut the Gordian knot of politics today.
The main reason for the dilemma of politics and this inextricable knot is undoubtedly the Kurdish question. Perhaps the most fundamental reason for this deadlock is the inability of politics to find a solution, except PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan held in İmralı island prison, on how to solve the question. Politicians who did not come to Kadıköy were consolidated for a deadlock of the question and are trying to drown out the rising voice in Kadıköy. This policy is to remain unsolved, to insist on hostility towards Kurds and at war. The continuity of the war is the most determining factor in all of the problems we experience today. And the reason why a policy against the war could not rise is actually this deadlock. This deadlock is no longer a bearable situation for the society. Because this deadlock is a multidimensional deep crisis cycle.
Today, everyone knows very well what kind of a collapsed process this multidimensional deep crisis atmosphere has created. The fact that almost every sphere of life, especially the economic crisis, were dragged into the crisis, on the one hand, is the cause of the collapse, on the other hand, it points to the eve of a great transformation. The problem is that the politics that can influence society about how this transformation will take place has not yet emerged.
The government and the controlled opposition do not want to see the Öcalan Theses, a democratic solution of the Kurdish question. They continue a covert alliance in order to reproduce the outdated order. The regime’s unstable order still continues to try to find its system. The pass towards the poor-quality Presidential Government System as the Turkish type presidential system was actually the result of the deadlock. Now, in the same deadlock, the controlled opposition is saving the day of the current regime with the strengthened parliamentary system plan.
For more than a century, this regime has been unable to solve any structural problems, beginning with the Kurdish issue. It has brushed every one of these problems under the rug, while trying every method to protect itself, including military coups. There were some who set out to democratise the republic, but their efforts fell prey to the İttihat ve Terakki* mentality every time. They still do not understand that the best point they could reach for is flawed democracy. The attitude they have taken against the isolation greatly exposes how far they are from the most basic understanding of human rights and law while defending democracy. The attitude of the controlled opposition against the Kadıköy protest actually reveals that they are indistinguishable from the government in this issue. It is seen that these two sides are tarred with the same brush when it comes to the Kurdish question.
However, there is a solution and another politics is possible. The Gemlik march is a great meeting place of those who insist on a solution and say that another politics is possible. The fact that the supporters of the regime attacked so much shows how strong willed this march is. The broken-down order’s attack on those who are fighting for a democratic republic is consuming its last remedy. The strongest response was and will continue to be given on the streets to the government, struggling desperately, and those under its control. The struggle against the isolation policies is the most important move for the liberation of politics. If we have come to a point where without a solution in the Kurdish question, we cannot solve any of our problems, then we need to start with solving this question, with the one that will solve this issue.
* İttihat ve Terakki Cemiyeti (The Committee of the Union and Progress) was the ruling party in the Ottoman Empire between 1908 and 1914. Their party policy was the Turkification of the Ottoman lands.