By Cengiz Çandar
May 22, 2018
The outcome of Turkey’s upcoming election will be determined by the Kurdish voters. This is ironic since the presidential system that the election will enshrine is designed to exclude the Kurds from the political system of Turkey. The sequence of fatal mistakes that have been committed since 2015 show that the Turkish state is determined to deprive the Kurds from having a political say, whatever the cost. The Kurds will either liquidate Turkish autocracy or be amputated from the Turkish body politic.
Celal Başlangıç in Haberdar notes that AKP is taking action in parliament to strip especially the HDP parliamentarians of their immunity. CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said that the move “is against the constitution, but we are nonetheless going to vote in favor of removing the immunity.” Everyone in the party was surprised, even shocked, including some of those who are very close to the CHP leader. Why had Kılıçdaroğlu – who until now had accused President Erdoğan of violating the constitution – decided to be party to this crime? In CHP circles, four answers are suggested to this question: one is that the CHP leader feared that the AKP was going to accuse him of helping “PKK deputies.” Second, he was afraid that the neo-nationalists within CHP would have rebelled otherwise. Third, Kılıçdaroğlu’s own identity – he is Alevi and Kurd – played a role. But the explanation that is mostly discussed is that Kılıçdaroğlu decided to say “yes” after a briefing he received at the General staff. People in the party are saying that Kılıçdaroğlu knew very well – after a meeting earlier during the day with the central committee of the party – that the general tendency was in favor of saying “no” to the AKP’s motion, but that the briefing he was given at the General staff later during the day led was decisive, explaining why he went on television in the evening to tell that CHP was going to vote “yes.”
Etyen Mahçupyan in Akşam writes that PKK has shot itself in the foot. At a point where it had the chance to force Turkey to a real peace, it seriously damaged its legitimacy by returning to war. Those who want to lend support to the Kurdish political movement now claim that Erdoğan has started the war because he could not become executive president or because he wants an election victory. These speculations are all baseless. The presidency is not part of the events, because a presidential system can only be introduced together with a new constitution, and even if were to come to power alone the AKP could not propose such a constitution by its own, because it would not be able to ensure the necessary legitimacy and permanency of the endeavor. Nor is there any logic behind the speculation about starting a war in order to win the election; because if such a perception has been established, you are not going to win an election anyway. Besides, if this is indeed the AKP’s purpose, then you’ll need to find an answer to why the PKK helped the AKP by executing those two police officers. So why did the cease-fire end? It ended because the PKK started to seek independence in Rojava, and because Turkey did not want to have a PKK state at its border. One should not forget that a PKK that establishes itself as a state means that there will be civil war in Turkey anyway. The AKP is not opposed to a Kurdish entity by its border; such an entity can even serve its purposes. But it is against every form of autonomy that is imposed by PKK. Thus, it did not hesitate to exploit the PKK’s serious mistake and reciprocated the invitation to end the cease-fire.
Metin Münir on the t24 news site writes that Erdoğan, after tasting his first election defeat, turned his ire and hate against HDP and its leaders. He ended the solution process. He sent the air force to bomb Kandil. PKK, the target of this attack, had many choices; without hesitation, the PKK chose the most stupid one. It started to spread terror. Maybe the leaders of the PKK, like all other aging warlords, could not accept that they are no longer in tune with the times, maybe they could not bring themselves to accept that the time has come for them to leave the initiative to the civilians. Whatever Erdoğan does, the most rational thing for the PKK to do is to pull out its warriors from Turkey and concentrate on the fight against ISIS.
Orhan Bursalı in Cumhuriyet calls attention to a statement made by Kurdish leader Cemil Bayık: “No one can force us to pull out the guerilla from the north (from Turkey) or force us to lay down our arms. These are things that are never going to happen.” The leaders of the PKK/KCK have embraced the opportunity that has been offered them in Syrian Kurdistan; they are strengthening their positions there (through the PYD and with the help of the U.S. and the West); the focus of their policies is primarily to view Southeastern and Eastern Anatolia as forming one unit together with Syrian Kurdistan. The proclamations of “self-rule” in two provinces and six counties are not only a result of the [Turkish air force] bombings [of Kandil]; this is something for which they have prepared for a long time. The proclamations of Kurdish “self-rules” are one step: the message is “We don’t recognize the central government in Ankara.” They speak of “Revolutionary people’s war.” This means that we can expect smaller and bigger uprisings with the participation of the masses. It appears that the PKK/KCK has opted for policies that break off the bonds with Turkey.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.