Unilateral Proclamation of “Democratic Autonomy” for Kurds in Turkey

Kurdishaspect.com – By Baqi Barzani

Murat Karayilan, one of the senior PKK commanders, said if Turkey does not agree to PKK’s terms, his party will consider the option of unilaterally proclaiming “democratic autonomy” in the Kurdish regions of south-east Turkey, irrespective of Turkey’s concerns.

His avowal sounds as a rational resolution to end the ongoing conflict in Turkey, and it should have long been pursued by Kurdish political parties in that country.

Since its foundation in 1978, PKK resorted to every non-violent measure to seek a practical solution for the 25 million marginalized Kurds in Turkey. From independence demands to less autonomy, from just seeking greater cultural and political rights to disarming completely, from cease-fires to dialogues to peace convoys, Ankara missed out every single leeway and portrayed no willingness whatsoever to strike up a deal with the Kurds.

Like its antecedent non-democratic governments, the incumbent AKP party lacks belief in pursuing constructive dialogue initiatives to peacefully settle its widening dissonances with the Kurdish minority. In lieu of introducing more constitutional reforms, it has lessened Kurdish political representation by banning legitimate Kurdish parties, stepped up incarceration of democratic opponents, even school-going underage children, and denied granting cultural rights of the Kurds.

There has not been the slightest improvement or amendment in Turkish foreign policy and intolerant attitude toward the Kurds. With Turkish military having sought to oust the alienated ruling AKP party through coups, things could have even gone to rack and ruin.

By unilaterally promulgating some type and degree of autonomy in North Kurdistan, Kurds should expect the worst retaliatory counteracts from Ankara. However, it will establish as an effective approach in the long run. The verbal pronouncement will bear physiological impacts, shift the implication and direction of the war in the eyes of the globe, and lay the foundation for a feasible second KRG in North Kurdistan. It will be more interpreted as “Kurdish struggle for autonomy” versus “Turkish fight against a violent single party PKK”.

In order to undermine Kurdish resistance, Turkey resorted to the “segregation and discor” card by tarnishing PKK reputation as a terrorist organization. Realistically speaking, Ankara succeeded moderately in diminishing support for PKK among the Kurds and vilifying the movement. One can draw the same inference by weighing up the reflection of global media and numerous other publications on the subject.

Unilateral declarations confront strong opposition and suppression at the outset. The independence of “Kosovo” is still threatened and negated by some powers. “East Timor” announced its independence in 1975, but it continued to tolerate Indonesian invasion till becoming the first new sovereign state of the 21st century on May 2002. The concept of autonomy and secessionism is not embraced widely, but it has been realized as an alternative to end civil unrest and elongated conflicts. As for the Kurds, it is their legitimate right.

Announcing a “democratic autonomy” in Northern Kurdistan will strengthen PKK’s cause and convene all Kurds in North Kurdistan (Turkey) under a single umbrella, depicting Kurdish struggle more cumulative, national than one-dimensional. And that is what unerringly frets the Turkish establishment the most.


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August 1, 2010
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