Approaching the ‘Peace Process’ as a Discourse
The new process of dialogue between the Turkish government and the PKK –the Kurdish group that is labelled as a terrorist organisation by Turkey and by many states and actors in the international community– can be examined as a discourse. This paper argues that the discourse on ‘the peace process’ includes an authoritative attempt to legitimise the AKP’s (Justice and Development Party), BDP’s (Peace and Democracy Party) and the PKK’s approach to the Kurdish question; and to delegitimise criticisms about the AKP’s, the BDP’s and the PKK’s conduct. This discourse has raised two main questions. Firstly, this dialogue process has been described as a ‘peace process’, which has tended to become an authoritative discourse. As a result, the debate regarding both sides – and on the process itself – is closed to discussion. Secondly, there is the wider issue that any discourse creates its antagonisms. Therefore, some people would be antagonised and feel alienated by the process. This paper argues that the participants in this process, who describe it as the ‘peace process’, legitimise their own roles and their actions and delegitimize criticisms regarding how the process works and the actors involved. This would antagonise and marginalise the delegitimised sectors. However, this antagonism should not be seen in a democracy. Democracy should aim to satisfy the majority of the population while protecting the rights of the minority. However, the functioning of this process turns out to be a hegemonic activity by the participants, instead of satisfying the majority of society.