Kurds are winner of the referendum - KEMAL ÖZTÜRK

Kurds are winner of the referendum

I have been keeping a close eye on the region since the ditch terror. I go to observe and speak to people who know the area very well.

I have been saying and writing that there has been an estrangement from the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and detachment from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) since June 7, 2015. Since the ditch terror, the HDP's supporting terrorism and the troubles that the people of the region have been suffering from has accelerated this estrangement and detachment.

For this reason, the last referendum was very important. We wanted to know whether this estrangement was continuing.

Thus, when the referendum results were unveiled, naturally, this was the first region I looked at. Yes, Kurds are rapidly continuing to distance themselves from the HDP and PKK.

There has been a 100% increase in votes that were not given to the HDP. This withdrawal tests one other thing: whether the people support the government's policies on the HDP and PKK.

Kurds support the government's policy

This is what the situation was:

After the PKK ended the reconciliation period and started the ditch terror, the HDP deputies and municipalities did not stand against this, but instead supported this terror. Moreover, they said, "We have the YPG [People's Protection Units] behind us," and even attended the funerals of PKK terrorists.

With an investigations into the matters, there was a request to arrest the HDP's co-chairs and deputies. The government appointed administrators to all the municipalities that supported terrorism. Administrators were appointed to 34 HDP municipalities, and 37 co- in these municipalities were arrested. Thirteen deputies including HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ were sent to prison.

While all this was happening, security forces started a very strict crack down on terrorism.

The 'state of emergency' announced after the coup attempt was another one of these operations.

When all this happened, some argued that there would be a return to the 1990s; the security policy would take over the region and Kurds would act against this. I was one of the few people who insisted on the opposite; Kurds were reacting against terrorism and supported the government's operations. Nov. 1, 2015 was the first date we got some data supporting this. Kurds started to estrange themselves from the HDP. The referendum showed that this was not just a sudden reaction against the HDP, but a phase that would continue.

This increase was seen in nearly all cities. For example, cities like Van, Mardin, Diyarbakır, Batman and Hakkari had a considerable increase in "yes" votes. This actually means the public was happy that the mayors were replaced by government-appointed administrators. One of the messages this referendum gave to us was that Kurds were supporting the government's policies on the PKK and HDP.

Kurdish reflex toward the state's survival problem

There is an important statement Mustafa Ekici, the TRTKurdi channel coordinator, made in the "Açık Görüş" (Open View) section of the Turkish-language Star newspaper: "The greatest fear of Kurds is to be separated from Turkey." This is a very striking determination. Ekici says that the real Kurds, excluding those who are supportive of terrorism, want to live in Turkey.

Kurds, who were one of the founding societies of the Ottomans and supported the Ottoman Empire in every crisis, have proven that they will be partners of the state in any case of division and insecurity. Every Kurd who is clear of terrorism, will stand in the frontline to defend this country as a loyal member of this land. I truly believe in this.

Fear of falling into the unknown like Syria has also withdrawn the Kurds from the HDP and PKK. However, its full embracement with the state is yet to happen. Therefore I had written that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan should give strong messages of embracement to the people in his Diyarbakır rally (March 16, 2017) – I had even told his advisers. But Erdoğan did not do this – probably out of concern of losing the nationalist votes. Yet he still gave important messages. So, if he had given a stronger message, this withdrawal would have been even stronger.

The Kurdish votes surely effected the fate of the elections. The votes that were not given by Istanbul and Ankara, cities considered as the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) fortress, were generously given by the Kurds. Thus, I would have to say the winner of the referendum are the Kurds.

Let's not miss this opportunity

I insist and reiterate: the withdrawal of Kurds from the HDP and PKK has given us the opportunity of the century: to end the terror problem and solve the Kurdish question as well. This is more important to me than the referendum results. Hence, President Erdoğan, who is trusted strongly by the Kurds, has to show interest in this kindness. It should be at least as important as the nationalist votes, which somehow did not end up coming. In order to make the Kurds feel that this state is their state as well, a historic embracement should take place with the Kurds themselves. Isn't this exactly what the reconciliation process is about?


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