We are dealing with the most crucial and vital issue of the past fifty years. We had covered some serious ground; however, it’s not yet over. We are advancing towards the formidable and complicated phases of the Resolution Process.
Let’s visualize that the militants on the mountains laid down their weapons and came down to the cities, and the militants in the prisons started to blend in with the community. They will secure a job, start a family, socialize and communicate with people. In the streets, we will be encountering people who had been in Qandil for years. How would someone close to a martyr feel about all this? Will the families, who were unable to see their kids after they climbed into the mountains, accept them again? How will the Turkish community, whose nationalist feelings are strong, coexist with the people they call “terrorists”?
IRA NEGOTIATOR IN ENGLAND
In London, the more we spoke with the Irish politician, a member of the Liberal Democrat Party of the House of Lords, Lord John Alderdici, the more questions we had on our minds. In 2014, after Bülent Arınç initiated the London Office of the Anatolian Agency (AA), he had a meeting with Lord Alderdici and I attended that meeting.
As a politician within all this, when Lord Alderdici explained the process and post-process, we realized that we actually have a long way to go. To be honest, at that time, we understood that we had made no preparations for this.
THE MOST CRITICAL PERIOD: DIRECT CONTACT
After a ceasefire, the disarmament agreement and persistent peace had been provided, the most critical period is actually beginning; direct contact. A person, who had been excluded and sentenced as a “terrorist” by the community, will start coming into close contact with the community, with which he/she had made almost no previous contact.
Lord Alderdici says, “It was a serious problem for the wounded people, whose pain might still be fresh, to make face to face contact and live together, and we had made an extreme effort for this”.
It’s not that easy for a militant, who laid down arms and returned home, to find a job, earn money, get married, be a part of the community and, of course, for the community to accept them. In order to ease the storms within a militant, who lost his/her sibling, or a child, who lost his/her father, an intense effort, support and scientific studies are needed.
A COMMUNICATION AGENCY PROVIDED SUPPORT THROUGHOUT THE PROCESS
I was surprised when I first heard that the British government had sought service from a professional company, in the communication field. However, it still sounded logical. Likewise, the most critical issue in resolution processes is managing the perception, and as far as I’ve understood, the press in Britain had been the one that caused most of the problems in this matter.
In his interview with Aslı Aral from the Anatolian Agency in 2008, Jonathan Powel, Tony Blair’s advisor, who had earned a reputation as “the man who shook hands with the IRA” for holding out negotiations, remarks that extreme ends attempted provocations in order to manage to process and take over it. Powel states that they had a tough time; however, they had resisted a lot to avoid surrendering. In this matter, they also ran into snags because of the reaction from the press. I guess Turkey is now in the process of dealing with the resistance of both extreme ends and the emotional reactions of the press.
SOCIAL SUPPORT GROUPS, COMMUNICATORS, VOLUNTEERS AND PERCEPTION MANAGEMENT
I believe that Turkey, which possesses a communal harmony and the culture of living together, will overcome this period easier than the Brits and Irish. However, serious preparations and studies are required for this period. Psychological support groups, sociologists, pedagogues, family advisors, communicators, opinion leaders, reverends, economists, vocational courses, employment establishments and most importantly volunteers, non-governmental organizations…. All these are required for preparing to the reality that will be faced by the community.
Last year, the government had issued an extensive enactment in this matter. Thus, a juridical infrastructure had been prepared for all the adaptation studies related with the fields we mention above. However, I guess that there is a delay in the implementation of these decisions and the formation of the councils. On the other hand, I have to say that a systematic study is needed in the coordination of the communication, and on the matter of informing and perception management.
The problem belongs to all of us, and in my opinion, it’s our most important problem. Everyone has their own part to play. I’ve learnt that there had been good developments related to the active role of the non-governmental organizations, which I’ve mentioned yesterday, in the Resolution Process as a third side. In the next few days, I’ll be sharing these good developments with you.