Hasan Cemal on t24 news site comments on a recent book by Abdullah Öcalan, “The Notes of İmralı”, about the negotiations between the Turkish government and the imprisoned leader of PKK. The book confirms that “solution” for Erdoğan meant the disarmament of PKK. And for this purpose, Erdoğan was holding out a carrot for Öcalan – his gradual liberation. Erdoğan used the “solution process” only to win votes at the ballot. Or he started the process with only this objective in mind. The book shows that Öcalan was always clearly aware that Erdoğan at some point was going to reopen the door for a period of violence. My two main impressions after reading the book are first that Öcalan this time was not fooled by the classical tactics of the Turkish state to drive a wedge between Kandil and Öcalan and to split the PKK. Second, one has to salute Öcalan for the leading role for peace that he plays today, despite having endured solitary confinement in a cell for fifteen years. Lastly: If we say solution and peace, then we have to acknowledge that Öcalan’s leading role is vitally important.
By Gallia Lindenstrauss
February 4th, 2016, The Turkey Analyst
In view of the challenges Turkey is facing in the Middle East, Ankara is attempting to further solidify its relations with the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) and specifically with KRG’s president, Massoud Barzani. While this policy may assist Turkey in increasing its influence over the future of Iraq and assist it in diversifying its energy suppliers, it is less likely to help Turkey in its internal struggle with its Kurdish minority, or in countering the Kurdish aspirations in Syria. Yet, as the only still relevant remnant of Turkey’s ‘zero Problems’ policy, Turkey-KRG relations do have the potential to assist Ankara in maintaining and solidifying its influence over the future of Iraq.
By Gareth H. Jenkins
February 1st, 2016, The Turkey Analyst
The sustained clashes in urban areas that have wracked southeast Turkey in recent months mark a new stage in the decades-old insurgency of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and threaten to escalate into a full-blown civil war. Although it is still not too late to pull the country back from the brink, neither the Turkish government nor its Western allies appear aware of the extent of the danger that it is facing.
By Halil Karaveli
January 25th, 2016, The Turkey Analyst
Terrorist attacks that target opponents of the Turkish regime and for which the “Islamic state” is held responsible are used to legitimize a “war against terrorism” that is a euphemism for Turkey’s new old war against the Kurdish movement. The forces behind the terrorism that has struck Turkey during the last six months will in all probability never be exposed. As a rule, political violence remains unresolved in Turkey, except when the Kurdish PKK is involved. Nonetheless, it is ultimately enough to know which forces that have historically been served by political violence. The instigators may have remained in the shadows, but it has always been clear that the winners have been the advocates of authoritarian rule.
Orhan Bursalı in Cumhuriyet writes that Turkey is not making headway in the Middle East, which means that AKP’s strategy to swallow MHP is endangered. Turkey’s “arrows” are not only missing their targets, they are also provoking a backlash. The Sunni Turcoman areas in Syria are now under the control of the forces of Assad. The military incursion into the Mosul region backfired. The downing of the Russian plane has backfired even more dramatically, with Russia deploying strong military, economic and political pressures in response. And now, after Putin has deployed S-300 and S-400 missile defenses in Syria, Turkey cannot even send up an airplane against Syria. Ankara is left without a single political card to play in the Middle East. It is left alone at the chess table. The political meaning of the command of the U.S. to Turkey to leave Mosul is “You are not going to have any influence on the drawing of new maps in the Middle East.” Thus, it is becoming impossible to achieve the kind of results in the Middle East that would satisfy the Turkish nationalism of the MHP voters. Nonetheless, the single most important internal political tool that will help AKP detach voters from MHP is the operation against PKK.
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.