According to Hakan Tahmaz from Turkey’s Peace Assembly, the recently announced "Under-secretariat of Public Order and Security" reveals that the government regards the Kurdish issue solely on grounds of security.

"Such initiatives were tried before. The reality is that this problem can’t be resolved with a security approach. A coordination of the US, Turkey and Iraq had not provided to be effective. This is a dead end."

The Minister of Interior Beşir Atalay said the under-secretariat would be coordinating the different authorities responsible for "counter-terrorism". Yet, Tahmaz thinks the main expectations are in the field of democratization and political reforms. A first step in this regard is establishing a dialogue with the Democratic Society Party (DTP). "This is the meaning of being at the parliament. The government should understand that without talking with the DTP, it couldn’t move an inch forward."

DTP’s co-chair Ahmet Türk still waits a response for his attempt to meet PM Erdoğan in April. He met Presient Abdullah Gül last week. Gül later announced, "Kurdish issue is a priority for Turkey." Furthermore, PM Erdoğan told journalist İsmet Berkan that symbolic reforms could be expected and Atalay remarked that the government still backs up Erdoğan’s 2005 Diyarbakır speech where he acknowledged the Kurdish issue.

Nonetheless, Tahmaz thinks symbolic reforms aren’t enough; a constitutional reform is needed.

"One of the important points is to redeem the scars of counter terrorism activities during the period of war. For example removing the village-guards system. Yet when DTP proposes this, the government directly backs up. It’s not a positive approach at all."

Even if he’s not hopeful about recent developments, Tahmaz thinks current conditions are pushing Turkey to deal with the problem. "Global developments are forcing this but we’re losing time and valuable energy."

He finds threatening that the new under-secretariat will be funded from the classified budget. "Without transparency, security precautions can easily go off-track. It’s a tradition."(TK/AGÜ)