PKK & AKP: conjoined twins / Emre Uslu – A strange partnership ?

Zaman – 3.2.2104 – The Justice and Development Party (AKP) has opened many fronts in recent years to fight against liberals, the Gulen movement and some of its former supporters, such as Menzil group. Recently, the only group that the AKP government has not fought against is the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). For the AKP, not fighting with the PKK is understandable because the PKK’s armed struggle would greatly hurt the government. Given the fact that the AKP’s peace initiative has created deep suspicious among Turkish nationalists, resuming the armed clash would put the government in big trouble. Knowing such a risk, the AKP government is doing everything to ensure that the PKK does not resume its fight.

For instance it was risky for the AKP government to release new photos of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan but they did so. Moreover, Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay openly honored Ocalan by declaring him the only leader of Kurds. Atalay had said, “Whether you like it or not, Ocalan is the leader of Kurds and we admit he is making a good contribution to the peace process.”

Furthermore, AKP deputy Mehmet Metiner had said: “We don’t consider the [Kurdistan Communities Union] KCK network to be a threat to Turkey. We don’t consider the KCK as a state within the state.”Such statements are very risky for the AKP government to make ahead of local elections. However, the AKP government feels obliged to make the PKK happy because they know the risk of entering into yet another fight with the PKK. By adopting such a policy, the AKP will lose some votes but compared to fighting against the PKK, this is the only option before the AKP. It seems that the PKK is very happy with the AKP’s policy toward them. From Ocalan to Cemil Bayik, PKK leaders have not hesitated to extend their support to the government.

For instance, Ocalan harshly criticized the Gulen movement and supported the AKP government. Recently Bayik too openly supported the government against the Gulen movement.

It seems that the PKK has good reasons to support the AKP at this stage. First of all, the existing policy of the AKP government helps the PKK to increase its influence over all Kurds.

Moreover, the AKP government not only makes the PKK happy in rhetoric but it also gives the PKK green light to control all the Kurdish regions in the upcoming elections. For instance, it has been argued that the AKP has nominated a weak candidate to make sure that Sanliurfa, the stronghold of the AKP, will be controlled by the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). It is speculated that in response to the AKP’s gesture, Ocalan nominated Sirri Sureyya Onder in Istanbul to ensure the AKP will win in Istanbul.

In addition, the AKP government has no real objection to the PKK’s control over the Syrian Kurdish region. From time to time, in order to ease public anger over the PKK’s gains, AKP officials criticize the Democratic Union Party (PYD), but don’t really do anything significant against them. There is no doubt that it is just a matter of time before the AKP government recognizes the Kurdish domination of the north of Syria.

For these good reasons the PKK feels the need to support the AKP government while the AKP government has no choice but to stand with the PKK.

No one knows how the changing circumstances will affect the policies of the PKK and the AKP but it seems as though both parties have secured each other’s support until the local elections.

Zaman Daily