People are exhausted. Exhausted, nervous, exasperated...
It is hard to tell from a distance.
I am talking about those who live in Sur, Cizre, Nusaybin and Şırnak. People whose houses have been destroyed, belongings were burned, shops looted, streets ruined and memories destroyed. Put yourself in their shoes, try to understand them.
A businessman explains, while walking along the streets of Sur, his loss worth millions of liras, his bankruptcy. Another shows a picture of his triple-story home which is now rubble. The eyes of the once wealthy tradesman well up in tears when he says he is now looking for a job.
Who wouldn't be annoyed about living in dorms or in a hostel with other people? These people will not be able to have iftar (fast-breaking dinner) in their own homes, or enjoy the Eid celebrations that follow the month of Ramadan.
The people's heroic resistance
I am sharing the most insignificant of these stories. These are just the tip of the iceberg. There are stories of helpless fathers, aggrieved mothers, who long for their kidnapped children, and the heart-wrenching stories of those who have lost their loved ones...
They were once oppressed by the state. Just when they found peace with the Reconciliation Process, now they are suffering at the hands of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Their cities, streets, houses and lives have been destroyed because of the PKK's “self-governance” nonsense.
Their suffering has yet to end. Now they are victimized on a greater scale. More than 200,000 people have been forced to leave their homes because of the ditches dug by the PKK and their bombs. They have become refugees in their own land.
The PKK intended to exploit this victimization and persuade people to revolt and protest, yet their plan failed. Therefore, as I said many times before, Kurds did not comply with the PKK's call and even turned their backs on them. Such heroism is devotion and courage. We should never forget this. Now these people are trying to patiently live despite losing everything, including their homes. Thus, this shows us that we have entered a critical period in the fight on terrorism.
The Sur action plan and a practical minister
I spent the weekend in the region. I visited Diyarbakır/Sur, Mardin/Midyat and Nusaybin. I tried to see the changes that took place over time.
Mehmet Özhaseki, the minister of Environment and Urban Planning, disclosed the action plan for rebuilding Sur. I carefully listened to him. The project is successful. But what I appreciated more was the minister's attitude. I liked the new minister, an old mayor who has gone from one success to another. He said: “They have not had a chance to start building the city because of the protocol visits. If necessary I will open an office in Diyarbakır and work there.”
I hope Özhaseki will rebuild the city with his result-oriented attitude. Yet, he has to be fast as thousands of people are living away from their homes and are running out of patience.
The critical threshold in the fight against terror
The PKK and Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) are facing a reaction that they did not expect from the Kurdish people. They see that the state has changed its viewpoint. They see that the soldiers who are striving to protect the civilians no longer look at them like potential criminals. They have understood that everyone from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the head official of district has embraced the people who have been oppressed by terrorism. Hence, they have turned their backs on the PKK and HDP. This is a very important change in paradigm.
They have now seen the state's strong-minded and powerful attitude. Now it is time to see the state's compassion, aid and trust. These people are concerned about the future. They do not know what the future holds for them. Will they have a home again? Will their children have a school to go to? Will they once again have a place to work? These are the questions they want answered.
For Kurds to embrace Ankara
The government should soon declare its action plans for Nusaybin, Cizre, Şırnak, Yüksekova and Silopi. They have to be assured that their future is under state guarantee. This truth should be continuously and regularly conveyed directly to the people. The state should draw up communication plans for this.
We all saw the effects of the people turning their backs on the PKK/HDP in the fight against terrorism. This was a crucial attitude. We are now in the second phase in which Kurds will make peace with the state, embrace each other and establish a sense of belonging.
This is part of the political, social and economic fight against terrorism. Other ministries have a greater responsibility in this respect than security bureaucracy.
Will terrorism end if we do all of the above? No. Terrorism will never end if its human connections are not cut off. I will discuss this issue in my next article.