Last week, on his return from Prague, Gül had told journalists that the Kurdish question was “Turkey’s priority. It definitely needs to be solved.”

Opposition to be expected

However, Yeğen warned people from getting the impression that the PKK would immediately lay down arms. “It looks as if they are walking along the same road, but still on different sides of the road. The dynamics that can force them onto different paths are still very powerful.”

As an example he gave the speech that Devlet Bahçeli, leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) made in parliament on Tuesday (12 May). “It looks like the MHP will strongly oppose this process. They are opposing it because that is what is expected of them. If someone could explain the importance of this to the MHP, they might follow a softer line of opposition.”

Public opinion needs to be prepared

Yeğen said, “When the PKK lay down their arms, the Kurdish question will not be solved. We will only start talking about the issue. But the important thing is to talk about it without the pressure of guns. What the DTP has to do is to prepare the public for this process in some way.”

In a speech in the DTP’s parliamentary group meeting, party co-chair Ahmet Türk had said that a “monumental opportunity” for a solution had developed, emphasising that the process of debate should not be cut short.

Journalist İsmet Berkan of the Radikal newspaper wrote that in a meeting with Prime Minister Erdoğan he was told that Erdoğan was considering lifting a ban on Kurdish place names and limits on Kurdish broadcasting hours in local media organs, and also creating Kurdish departments at universities.

Yeğen believes that the public is ready for such steps and that consensus, including the General Staff, has long been reached. However, he pointed out that the most important issue was that the PKK seemed ready to disarm in reaction to a limited policy of reform. (TK/AG)