Leyla Zana’s “dialogue” message and the PKK’s “good news”

Last weekend, Murat Karayilan, one of the leaders of the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), announced that he would deliver “good news” soon, which drew attention to what he would reveal.

On one hand, Newroz was approaching, and Kurdish-issue focused People’s Equality and Democracy Party (DEM) had organized rallies spreading throughout the week, while on the other hand, DEM was striving to keep its base alive with the implication of a “dialogue process after the election” to prove that it would not support the CHP in this election.
Was it possible that the state and the PKK were having clandestine talks, and Karayilan would announce his “good news,” perhaps declaring a temporary ceasefire?
Karayilan’s so-called good news
A friend of mine relayed a conversation he overheard in a café. A group of Kurdish youth had gathered in a corner of the café, discussing with grim expressions. One of them sarcastically asked, “Have you heard the good news?” Another replied, “Anyway, let’s focus on Newroz.”
My friend witnessed this conversation shortly after the PKK announcement mentioned by Karayılan on the evening of March 20; in my opinion, it summarizes the situation well.
Karayilan’s good news was the claim that they had acquired weapons to shoot down Turkish UAVs and that they had shot down 15 UAVs since February 23. So, this was not a peace but a war announcement, if it could be called a good news at all.
In fact, Karayilan was saying two things:
1- Someone had realised that the Turkish Armed Forces and Intelligence Agency (MİT) had begun to seriously damage the PKK with pinpoint operations in Syria and Iraq, and PKK was provided anti-drone, anti-UAV defense weapons. There are still not many countries in the world where these weapons can be produced. It must also be difficult to acquire them from arms smugglers while the Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Hamas wars are ongoing.
2- Perhaps the PKK is struggling to replace the militants killed in TSK and MIT operations, and Karayilan is trying to extinguish the fire by saying, “Don’t worry, they can’t kill you anymore, we are also hunting them down.”

Platonic dialogue
The next day, on March 21, at the Newroz celebration in Diyarbakır, prominent Kurdish politician Leyla Zana appeared before the crowd making a speech for the first time in years and reiterated her speech about “dialogue after the election”.
The hope had to be kept alive.
On the other hand, neither Turkey nor the Middle East nor the world was the same as the dialogue processes between AK Party governments and the PKK in 2005-2006, 2009-2010, and 2012-2015.
Yes, PKK militant cadres and leaders have been receiving military, political, and administrative training at NATO standards from the US military in Syria for the past 10 years on top of their own experiences. They now also declare that they have UAV defenses. But Turkey has been in a position of effective power in Syria and Iraq especially since the attempted coup in 2016. The PKK’s opportunities to force Turkey into dialogue are considerably weaker than in 2012, for example.
Second, DEM may not want to see that since 2016, the ally on which Erdogan has relied is the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahceli.
Third, Erdogan’s priority after the elections will be to emerge from the economic crisis and, if possible, to further centralize executive power through a constitutional amendment. All indications suggest that he will prioritize removing the PKK from being a military threat.

International balances
Fourth, the world and the region are currently in a chaotic situation due to the crises in Ukraine and Gaza. Turkey is also trying to use this chaotic situation to its advantage and to get out of it without suffering damage as much as possible.
Fifth, if a Turkey-Iraq rapprochement results in an agreement, this will be detrimental to the PKK. The countries most disturbed by such an agreement in the region are Iran and Israel.
The future of the US in Iraq and Syria is also linked to whether Republican candidate and previous president Donald Trump will come to power again in the November elections.
Taking these factors into account, it can be seen that the “dialogue” call is platonic and one-sided, especially when combined with the “freedom for Ocalan” demand, which is not seen as realistic even by DEM circles.
It is also seen that this call aims to keep the DEM grassroots together during the election period. Will DEM be able to fully control the voters in Istanbul, which has become a matter of reputation, especially for AK Party and Erdogan, with demands whose realism is questioned? We will see that on the night of March 31.

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