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Negotiations with first-generation PKK leaders?

\u304 STANBUL (C\u304 HAN)- In recent years, there has been an argument that the only chance for Turkey to find peace is by negotiating with first-generation Kurdistan Workers\'92 Party (PKK) leaders. The next generation of Kurdish nationalists has more anger toward the system; therefore, it is not possible to negotiate with the second generation.

It is true that second-generation Kurdish nationalists and PKK members usually come from displaced families. Thus, they are more disillusioned toward the state and the system. Unlike the first generation, who went to the mountains to pursue leftist dreams and hoped to bring about a revolution, the second generation\'92s anger toward the system is based on first-hand experience and grievances. The first generation\'92s grievances were more or less \'93imagined\'94 however the second generation\'92s grievances are \'93real.\'94

For instance Abdullah \'d6calan, Duran Kalkan, Cemil Bay\u305 k and other founders of the PKK were actually a few of the lucky Kurds who had the opportunity to study at Turkey\'92s top universities. \'d6calan himself was a civil servant who had the opportunity to get paid while studying during his time at university. There were millions of young Kurds at that time that had not even seen the major metropolitan cities of Ankara and \u304 stanbul. Thus, the grievances that \'d6calan, Murat Karay\u305 lan and other first-generation PKK leaders talk about were not the grievances they directly faced, but the \'93imagined grievances\'94 that they thought they had. In a way, they were the few lucky ones who did not share much of the same experiences with the rest of the Kurdish people, who experienced the real grievances, and began their fight based on imagined grievances they did not directly face.

With this background, when we think of the first-generation PKK leaders and the second-generation PKK members, it is normal that the first generation\'92s anger toward the system stemmed from different reasons. Thus, their anger toward the system was more of \'93imagined anger.\'94 However, the second-generation PKK leaders\'92 anger has a real base.

For this very reason, the possible peace negotiations with the first-generation PKK leaders would be more difficult than with the second generation. The first-generation PKK leaders, the lucky ones, negotiate without substance. There is a big difference between their \'93imaginations\'94 and the reality on the ground. The only reality that they imagined was an \'93imagined Kurdish state,\'94 but in this era it is not possible. Thus, for a long time the PKK could not define what it wanted from the Turkish state.

Once the second generation came along, it was they who came up with the list of what Kurds want. They were the ones who asked for education in their mother language, etc.

Therefore, I argue that it would be much easier to negotiate with the second-generation PKK leaders than those of the first generation. You can talk about the real problems and real demands with the second generation but you can\'92t with the first generation because their reality is a constructed and imagined reality. Therefore the argument that you cannot make peace with the second generation is a baseless one.

EMRE USLU (Cihan/Today's Zaman) C\u304 HAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Jul 7, 2012
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