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Politics, religion, and culture where East meets West

Öcalan’s letter

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Likes dogs, long walks on the beach....

Likes dogs, long walks on the beach….

From Abdullah Öcalan‘s much-awaited ceasefire letter, read symbolically in Diyarbakır, by BDP ministers, and on Nevruz (here):

“We have reached the point where the guns must be silenced and where ideas must speak. A new era has started, where it is politics, not guns, which is at the forefront.”

Which is all well and good, but calls into question whose politics, exactly, will be at the forefront. A sensible prediction is that with Öcalan’s letter begins a hurried process of horse-trading between the Kurds and the AKP government, which has reined in the military in preparation for such talks. Though significant concessions regarding Kurdish rights — such as language — may be made, of real significance will be the means by which such concessions are made.

Likely, this will be the start of the AKP’s efforts to reform the constitution in its favor — a bid for the much-spoken-of presidential system. With cooperation from the Kurdish ministers (nobody else wants to help), constitutional referendi become a real possibility. Either way, the Kurds will remain a minority in parliament, so this is their chance to bargain for whatever they conceive of as “ethnic rights.” Meanwhile, the AKP will try to seize a guarantor of its own power stability through a more suitable constitution.

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Written by M. James

March 22, 2013 at 12:23 pm

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