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.

Kemal Öztürk in Yeni Şafak warns that the AKP is losing the public relation battle. The PKK/KCK/HDP coalition and the municipalities, associations, foundations, newspapers, radios and internet sites that it controls in the southeast have started a massive campaign, blaming all the deaths on the president and the AKP. This campaign is having a devastating effect on public opinion. Just as happened before the election, the public is turning against the AKP and the government. We also need to face the bitter truth: the discourse of the PKK is receiving much more attention in international media than the arguments of the government.  I did not expect that the operations that are being undertaken to secure law and order in the cities would have a negative impact on the Kurdish people. But the PKK’s communication tactics and sustained efforts could undermine this expectation. The AKP needs to assure the people that the fight against terrorism is one thing and the solution process is something different. If the AKP fails to explain why it is fighting terror, what it is doing for the solution process, what it plans to do for the Kurdish people, it risks yet another election disaster.

Şahin Alpay in Zaman writes that Turkey has certainly entered a period of instability that is not going to be short-lived. No doubt, President Erdoğan is the chief responsible for this. Yet this fact should not lead us to overlook the main reasons for why calm and stability continue to elude Turkey. A multicultural country like Turkey, with its multiple identities, can only become calm and stable when freedom and a pluralistic democracy has been put in place. Unfortunately, the genetic code of the republic does not allow for this. Erdoğan is faithful to the founding tradition of the republic when he views every kind of opposition as treason and when he does not tolerate that civil society becomes stronger. The second founding stipulation of the republic was that a modern society could only be constructed if the whole of society was made Muslim and if Islam was controlled by the state through the State Directorate of Religious Affairs.  Indeed, the AKP, which stands for Turkish nationalism mixed with a sauce of Islamism, does not recognize the freedom of belief and continues to impose the religion of the State Directorate of Religious Affairs. 

Sevan Nişanyan on the t24 news site notes that it is claimed that three groups have suffered systematic discrimination in Turkey: The pious, the Kurds and non-Muslims. This is a surprising claim. First of all, where are the leftists? Where not the leftists the ones who from the 1920s to the 1990s endured unrelenting police repression, who were censured, listed, who lost their jobs, who were deemed to be traitors to the motherland, who were arrested, tortured, hanged, and whose homes were raided by police that confiscated their “forbidden” books? The Alevis also deserve to be mentioned. And what about the opponents of religion, who the state hand in hand with “pious” society subjected to a rain of spit? Those who were discriminated were never the pious, but the Islamists. But even in spite of the threat that the latter posed, one has to concede that the stance of the state of the Turkish republic was always lenient and forgiving toward the Islamists. For instance, they never suffered massacres like the Kurds. They were not robbed of their belongings and driven away from their land like the non-Muslims were. They were not lynched like the Alevis, nor were their lives turned into a nightmare as has been the case for homosexuals.  There were moments when their organizations were dispersed, when their most militant spokesmen were incarcerated, when they lost their positions in the bureaucracy, when mainstream media used denigrating headlines about them – that’s all.  If that amounts to “systematic discrimination,” then we also need to accept for instance that the Turkic nationalists who were collectively arrested between 1944 and 1950, or the officers that were tried after 2007 were also victims of discrimination.

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Joint Center Publications

Op-ed Halil Karaveli "The Myth of Erdogan's Power"Foreign Policy, August 29, 2018

Op-ed Svante E. Cornell, A Road to Understanding in Syria? The U.S. and TurkeyThe American Interest, June 2018

Op-ed Halil Karaveli "Erdogan Wins Reelection"Foreign Affairs, June 25, 2018

Article Halil Karaveli "Will the Kurdish Question Secure Erdogan's Re-election?", Turkey Analyst, June 18, 2018

Op-ed Svante E. Cornell "Erbakan, Kisakürek, and the Mainstreaming of Extremism in Turkey"Hudson Institute, June 2018

Op-ed Svante E. Cornell "The U.S. and Turkey: Past the Point of No Return?"The American Interest, February 1, 2018

Op-ed Svante E. Cornell "Erdogan's Turkey: the Role of a Little Known Islamic Poet", Breaking Defense, January 2, 2018

Op-ed Halil Karaveli "Turkey's Authoritarian Legacy"Breaking Defense, January 2, 2018

 

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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