Thursday, 20 August 2015 00:00

Mahçupyan: PKK shot itself in the foot

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.

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.

By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 8, no. 15 of the Turkey Analyst) 

In recent weeks, Turkey has been wracked by an escalation in Kurdish-related violence. Not only could the upsurge have been prevented but there are fears that the worst may yet be to come. The fear is that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan may order an even harsher crackdown over the weeks ahead and that, with its rural units depleted by deployments to Iraq and Syria, the PKK may increasingly respond by staging attacks, including more suicide car bombings, in the cities.

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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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