Nobody expects an early solution to Turkeys decades-old Kurdish question, let alone a quick end or a decrease in the terrorist activity that began in 1984. But Turkey has already entered a process in which the search for a political solution to the problem has intensified rather than resorting solely to military means in easing the problem. The outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has extended its cease-fire until June 2011, the month in which Turks will cast their votes at ballot boxes to elect the new Parliament through which a new government will be set up. Current opinion polls suggest that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will most likely win a third term in office since first coming to power in the November 2002 elections. Since almost seven months are left before elections will take place and the PKK has extended its cease-fire until then, Ahmet Tnrk, a former deputy from the now banned pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) and the current co-chairman of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), states that Kurds do not expect radical steps to be taken by the government to address the Kurdish question in the run-up to the elections. But he says seven months is long enough to create an atmosphere of confidence for the Kurds under which a committee of wise men as well as a parliamentary commission (of truth) which will unearth nasty events of the 26-year-old fight against the PKK can be set up. It is not clear whether the government can even create such a climate of confidence for Kurds, as Tnrk suggested, because the votes of nationalists are also expected to play an important role just before elections in influencing the outcome. It is also important to note that, unlike in the past, there is less of a reaction from the public to increased media coverage of alleged dialogue between the PKK, its imprisoned leader Abdullah +calan and state officials. This indicates that, despite the existence of strong Turkish nationalism that plays a role in hampering efforts to find a solution to the Kurdish question, there has also been an increased positive opinion among Turks for a solution to this devastating problem. Unconfirmed reports estimate the death toll as a result of the ongoing fight against terrorism in the predominantly Kurdish, war-stricken Southeast since 1984, the year the PKK started its armed struggle, to be around 50,000 from both Kurds and Turks. It was mainly Turkish security forces and PKK militants who died as a result of the war. The families of Turkish soldiers who died during the fight have naturally been very sentimental when it comes to the resolution of the dispute. They are the ones whose hearts and minds the state should win over and explain to the benefits of creating a peaceful atmosphere by ending terrorism and by finding a solution to the problem. Going back to Tnrks remarks made during the interview with us at Kanal 7, he cites once again the language issue as being the core of the Kurdish question. One loses his or her identity and culture through the denial of education in their mother tongue. Denying the Kurdish language is beyond assimilation and a crime against humanity. There can be no brotherhood among Kurds and Turks by denying the existence of the Kurdish language, he said. The government has already taken measures that paved the way for the Kurds to speak their mother tongue. Turkish state television is already broadcasting a Kurdish channel. However, Kurds demand recognition of Kurdish as a language to be taught at schools. They do, however, accept Turkish as the official language. Tnrks remarks on the outcome of the Sept. 12 referendum, during which 58 percent of the voters approved comprehensive amendments made to the 1982 military-dictated Constitution, is quite striking bearing in mind that many Kurds abided by the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Partys (BDP) call to boycott the referendum. I would have been sorry had the referendum result been a 'no. Had the referendum not been boycotted, 95 percent of Kurdish voters would have said 'yes to the reform package put to the referendum, Tnrk confessed, saying, however, that this is only his personal view. Both Turks and Kurds now agree that the Kurdish problem cannot be solved through the use of force, Tnrk says, adding that it is time for the state to display its ability to solve the problem. The Kurdish question is a question of rights and freedoms. The more Kurds achieve their freedom, the more Turks will enjoy freedom. Ethnic nationalism is a trap. Kurds do not want to be dragged into the Middle East quagmire. Kurds will have a happier life in a democratic Turkey that is a member of the European Union, he said. He also added that democratic autonomy, which he defines as strengthening local authorities not only in the Kurdish region but throughout Turkey, does not contradict the nation-state model. These remarks are a message to ease Turkish concerns that Kurds may finally seek a separate Kurdish state, dealing a serious blow to Turkeys unitary state structure. In the long run, Kurds demand legal changes to be made that will recognize certain Kurdish rights that will inevitably lead to an autonomous structure. Today's Zaman