First in Iraq and then in Syria, a barricade you have been trying to hold onto for over a hundred years, through pacts, dirty deals and huge operations, has started to come down over the last 20 years.
You are trying ruthlessly to create new obstacles, but these efforts are futile.
You act outside of the law, but you don’t gain anything.
You resort to cheating, but it’s exposed.
You create alliances with international powers at the cost of making concessions, but they break.
You try to at least make the issue smaller by doing anything you can, but it grows bigger.
You use all your “lobbying” power to have the countries of the world designate them as terrorists, but it backfires.
You looked down on them as bandits a century ago and call them terrorists today, but the Kurds, who you insult as having no language, are now having their words heard at the heart of international politics.
Their tongues may have been cut off, but the Kurds are no longer mute.
While the whole world started to see and listen to the Kurds in 2011, you spent all your time trying to stop history, therefore actually losing time in the process.
In brief, these are really quite difficult times for those who perceive the existence of Kurds and their approach to escaping oppression as a threat.
For the oppressed, history is not only about the present, but also about history itself. The history of resistance is an insurmountable legacy of the oppressed. Don’t those who are trying to rule over the Kurds today know that they can never overrule their history of resistance?
Of course they know this, but they think that legacy will be defeated if they eliminate the “concrete gains” of the Kurds. The Turkish government is currently prisoner to this irrationality, and everyone is paying for it.
The governing coalition of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and other collaborators is following a strategy that will surely gradually collapse in on itself, leading to its own demise. The main basis of the strategy is very simple: stay in power.
The method they have come up with to ensure that is a century old: “If the Kurds lose, we win.”
Yes, but how can you make someone lose something if they have nothing “concrete” to lose?
Even if you destroy Kurdish “gains” in Rojava, even if you turn it into a desert, even if you don’t leave a single Kurdish person to remember what happened in these last 8 years, even if you erase the memory of the people who eliminated ISIS, you can only push back time as far as the pre-2011 period, when the Ba’ath Party was in power.
And then what?
Let’s say you push the Kurds back to before 2011. Then what will you do with the Kurds of 2011? Are you going to push them back to the 1930s?
Do you think it’s easy to push history towards history?
Professor Hamit Bozarslan, who I interviewed last year, told me, “With the destruction of rationality, a desire to take revenge on history and the past appears. Erdoğan sees the future as a period of time to take revenge on history. And that inevitably requires using violence.”
When you start viewing the future as a time frame in which you take revenge on the past, you start seeing it as a battlefield, a constant threat, an eerie tunnel in which existence is tested.
With that much constant anxiety, every step you take towards the future holds you back within the pages of history.
Because as you have lost rationality, the future is the past for you now — it’s history. But history is not a field where your “enemies” stand lifeless. Even if you are hung up on history, it’s not hung up on you.
Bozarslan ends his interview with Alican Tayla from the website Bir+Bir like this: “Just like La Boétie has said, bad people can’t become friends, they can merely become collaborators.”
Bozarslan uses this quote from one of the architects of modern politics, French thinker Étienne de La Boétie, who we know through his book the Discourse on Voluntary Servitude, to describe the three “anti-democracy” powers in Syria, namely Turkey, the U.S. and Russia. But we have more than enough reason to use the same logic for Turkey’s internal politics.
Everyone sees that the people in power clustered around the AKP-MHP coalition are collaborators, not friends. But since it’s not only the government that has lost rationality, this collaborator network has expanded dramatically and now also includes the Republican People’s Party (CHP).
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, as if his party’s support for the military operation was not enough, has now also taken up the work of defending the government’s previous operations as well. He said, “It was a correct policy to say ‘yes’ to the mandate [for the military operation]” and defended previous operations, including Afrin, by saying, “What will happen there when Turkish soldiers retreat? Those people will come to Turkey. It will be much more costly for Turkey to retreat. Therefore we saw the truth, that it is better for people living in the area — women, children and elderly people — that the soldiers stay there. We made our decision based on that.”
This means that Kılıçdaroğlu also perceives peace as a threat, and actually has entered the Erdoğanist camp while pretending to criticize him.
Kılıçdaroğlu’s stance surely shows how successful Erdoğan and his alliance is, but it also shows what kind of politics parliamentary opposition parties — with the exception of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) — have gathered around.
The Turkist-Islamist ideology, which hates history and does not see peace as an option, is once again becoming the dominant direction of politics. This time, CHP is involved as well.
After this, it’s only a matter of time before Kılıçdaroğlu tries to pull the CHP base towards his own views, which are actually Erdoğanism.
Therefore, it also means a huge defeat for people who were united with the purpose up standing up against a government consumed with destroying rationality during the March 31 and June 23 elections. These people do not see the future as a period through which to avenge the past: they see it as a time for reparations of the damage being caused today.
The close relations between CHP voters and the Kurds during the March 31 and June 23 elections were completely shattered after CHP supported the operation. One shouldn’t be surprised if Kılıçdaroğlu starts creating policies with the knowledge that the relationship can’t be repaired, and starts to translate Erdoğan’s arguments into the “language of the CHP.”
So are all CHP supporters content with their party drifting towards Erdoğanism?
İlhan Cihaner said in an interview last week that they wouldn’t let this happen.
So how many Cihaners are there in the CHP?
If there are people inside the CHP who object to their party surrendering to Erdoğanism, who still insist on being rational, what will they do now? Will they find a new political party for themselves, or a new party administration?
Will Erdoğan’s worries about preventing partition in his own party prior to October 9 also be valid for Kılıçdaroğlu now? While everyone talks about partition within the AKP, will it actually happen within the CHP? Or just like Kılıçdaroğlu has aligned with Erdoğan, will the “rational mind” inside the CHP conform to Kılıçdaroğlu’s policies?