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Erdogan Asks 'Wise People' To Make Case for Peace

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has chosen a delegation of "Wise People" to convince Turkish citizens about the benefits of his Kurdish peace plan, writes Kadri Gursel.
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan makes his address during a meeting with the 'wise people' commission in Istanbul April 4, 2013, in this picture provided by the Turkish Prime Minister's Press Office. Erdogan chaired an inaugural meeting of the 'wise people' commission, who will be consulted on a peace process with Kurdish militants. The commission is made up of academics, journalists and performing artists, and established by the government to promote the peace process nationwide. REUTERS/Kayhan Ozer/
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The peace process between the Turkish government and the Kurdish movement that has been in progress since last December is not the first attempt of the AKP government to find a political solution to the PKK issue. The first experiment was in 2009 that ended in what is best described as a fiasco. The title of the process, which began in July 2009 and fizzled out in October, was changed three times by the Erdogan government, which was sensitive to the reaction of the AKP constituency and Turkish public in general: It started out as ”Kurdish opening.” When faced with resentment of  the word Kurd, that was discarded and replaced by ‘’democratic” and the process was thus renamed "democratic opening."

By the time the process was abandoned in October because of a strong reaction of the Turkish public to victory festivities and demonstrations by tens of thousands of Kurds to the return of several PKK guerillas unarmed but in uniform to Turkey through the Habur gate, the official border crossing between the Kurdistan regional government and Turkey, the name of the process had become ‘’National Unity Project.” The most salient reason for the ”opening fiasco” of the AKP government was its lack of preparation intellectually and politically and its inexperience.

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