Will the PKK disappear if the Kurdish issue is solved?
Rather, Turkey's democratization as a result of the steps taken or reforms implemented for the settlement of the Kurdish issue will not weaken, but rather will strengthen the PKK. For this reason, we should seek to maintain democratization, not to weaken or finish off the PKK, but for the sake of democratization.
Those who argue that democratization will weaken or finish off the PKK should answer the following question: where is the PKK network strongest? Iraq? Syria? Turkey or Iran? Or Europe? This question has the only clear answer: Europe is where the PKK is the strongest. The PKK cannot exist without the PKK network in Europe. Where the PKK is the weakest financially and philosophically is Iran, where democracy is weakest. If the thesis that the PKK will weaken and finish off if the democratic sphere is expanded is true, the PKK could not exist in Europe.
Those who support this thesis tend to present their estimates or expectations, which do not rely on any concrete evidence, as facts to people. None of the arguments that suggest an inverse proportion between democratization and the PKK network have any scientific validity.
The strongest proof for my argument that democratization will strengthen the PKK is the case of the European countries. Indeed, the countries where the PKK as a network is the strongest are those where democratic rights can be enjoyed to the fullest. For instance, the PKK network is stronger in Scandinavian countries than in France or Italy since the democratic sphere is the largest in Scandinavian countries. Thanks to the freedom of unrestricted use of democratic rights, the PKK can broadcast propaganda in these countries. If democratization could pave the way for the finishing off of the PKK, then the PKK could not have existed in Europe. Indeed, Kurds living in Europe, particularly those in Scandinavia, have no problems in enjoying their democratic rights.
How can the PKK exist in Europe where Kurds can enjoy their democratic rights to the fullest? Why do people living in Europe lend support to the PKK? Many Kurds who were born in Europe and who never saw Turkey have joined the PKK to fight Turkey in the mountains after waiving their comfort; how can you explain why these people join the PKK? Do they join the PKK for the sake of diaspora solidarity or diaspora hatred?
The PKK does not weaken, but becomes stronger in democratic countries because social networks operate in the most effective manner in these countries. In other words, what is at stake here is not the development of democracy or where people enjoy their ethnic or religious rights, but how existing networks can operate. If there is a network that can mobilize an issue and if it can operate effectively, then that network will be able to find methods to manipulate people regardless of whether democratic rights are guaranteed to the fullest. Such a network will be able to persuade people to join the struggle. It is exactly for this reason that the PKK's network in Europe or elsewhere can persuade Kurds or even Germans or the Swiss to join the PKK as guerrillas in the Kandil mountains.
One may raise objection to this argument saying that people in democratic countries do not fight democracy except in those countries where democracy is not advanced. While his argument may seem correct at first glance, a closer examination reveals that this is not true. For example, the PKK committed murders in European countries and attacked the Kurds who sought refuge in those countries. In other words, the PKK's struggle is not restricted to Turkey. It is even speculated that the PKK organized the assassination of Olof Palme. Additionally, if democracy had been inversely proportional to terror, terrorist organizations could not exist in democracies. Yet everyone knows that terrorist organization can exist in democratic societies. Terrorist organizations established by white racists can be found in the US and Europe. Indeed, al-Qaeda can manipulate British citizens living in London to carry out attacks against their countries, which proves that terrorist organization can exist in democracies.
In summary, there will always be social tension for some reason in places where people live together. Social, religious, ethnic or ideological networks can manipulate this tension to persuade people to use violence. Thus, these networks can easily recruit people who will carry out acts of violence in any country. This has nothing to do with which country the network is located, but with whether this network can operate effectively.
Therefore, the argument that the PKK will be finished off if Kurds are granted their democratic rights is completely wrong. We must give Kurds their rights because they have the right to enjoy the same rights as other citizens of the country, not in order to finish off the PKK. Unlike other intellectuals, I argue that Kurds' rights should not be a tool or hostage in any matter related to the PKK, and I advocate the rights of Kurds and democratization although I know this will make the PKK stronger, not weaker.
EMRE USLU (Cihan/Today's Zaman) CyHAN
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