By Gareth H. Jenkins

September 19, 2016

The Turkish government’s recent dismissal of elected Kurdish officials from local authorities in the southeast and its preparations to prosecute Kurdish members of parliament risk exacerbating social tensions at a time of already severe domestic political turbulence.

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Ergun Babahan on the news site Özgür Düşünce writes that AKP’s antagonistic policies against Muslims and Kurds are at a par with the oppression that has historically been associated with CHP, the founding party of the republic. In fact what is happening can be viewed as “mopping up” actions by the state which uses the AKP as its tool.  The Kurds and the Gülen movement are seen as enemies by the state. AKP are doing the bidding of the state by terrorizing girls in headscarf and by being the standard-bearer of the policy of extermination against the Kurds. But make no mistake, for the state the AKP is nothing but a tissue that is used and which will be discarded when it’s no longer needed. In the 1990’s, the military had had to pay for what was done against Kurds and Muslims, and this was what paved the way for the ascent of AKP to power. This time, it will not be the military, but the president, the prime minister and the other AKP leaders who are going to be held responsible for the breaches of law and the violations of human rights. What we are witnessing in Şırnak, Cizre and Sur shows that the state has decided to destroy the Kurdish cities and empty them of their inhabitants. This is the 1915 model adapted to the conditions of our time, and it could set off an exodus of Turkey’s Kurds toward Europe.

Arzu Yılmaz in Birikim writes that the value of the PKK for the Kurdish people is above all that it is a defense force. The Kurds, who felt hopeless in the face of the cruelty they endured for years, managed to acquire relative defensive capability with the PKK.  However, especially what has happened during the last six months has depreciated the value of the PKK as a defense force. There is no ground for presenting the fact that resistance in Sur or in Cizre has continued until today as a success story. What is clearly obvious is that the Kurds are without defense and stand alone in the face of the violence to which they are subjected. What is especially difficult for the Kurds is that they once again find themselves in the position of “victims.” Yet only a year ago, “self-confidence” prevailed among everyone on the streets of Kurdistan. The claim “the Kurds are no longer the old Kurds” above all expressed the conviction that the days of “victimhood” lay behind the Kurds. But that was not true… everyone to whom you speak ask the PKK, “Why did you enter a war that you could not win?” But even if the Kurds criticize the PKK, they are not engaged in any attempt to exclude the PKK. This must above all be realized by the government that is trying to invent new interlocutors in Kurdistan. For the Kurds, the PKK is still, with all its faults, something that belongs to “us.”

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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.

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