Recent Attacks Decrease Chances of Peace in Turkey

27/08/2012 RUDAW – By HEMIN KHOSHNAW – ERBIL, Kudistan Region—Political observers believe policies practiced by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Turkish government have dramatically weakened any chance of peace in that country. Continuous military operations by the Turkish army and PKK activities as the latest bombing in Gaziantep on August 21 that resulted in the death of 9 people are serious drawbacks.

Nihat Ali Ozcan, an expert with close ties to the Justice Development Party (AKP) says that finding a peaceful solution for the conflict in Turkey is becoming ever more difficult.

“Finding peace is no longer in the hands of the PKK or the government,” he told Rudaw. “There are new players in the game now.”

Ozcan says that Iran, Syria and to a certain degree Russia, do not want an end to the conflict in Turkey. “America and Britain’s push on Turkey to get involved in the Syrian situation may also fuel the war,” he said. Ozcan believes that PKK’s demands do not match concessions that the Turkish government is willing to offer the Kurds.

“PKK demands an autonomous region to be run by Kurds, but Turkish leaders say that at this time that is impossible.” Ozcan said. For their part, PKK leaders say that their demand for autonomy is to include all provinces in Turkey and that the group does not advocate for marked borders between the Kurdish areas and the rest of the country.

Meanwhile, the PKK announced last month that they would continue their fight to the end of the AKP government. Duran Kalkan, a Turkish member of the PKK leadership council says, “With revolutionary war we have come close to achieving our goals.” As regards the deadly explosion in Gaziantep last week, Ozcan believes the PKK was behind it, “but Iran and Syria may have facilitated the attack.”

Emin Aktar, head of the Diyarbakir Lawyers Chamber says that unless Turkey reads the political balance of the Middle East it will not be able to surmount the dilemma it is facing. “In the coming years there will be new states in the region and the superpowers will redesign their positions,” he told Rudaw. “Turkey needs to read those changes and deal with them with a new mindset.”

Aktar said that Turkish leaders are not taking any lessons from the incident in Gaziantep and this would drive a wedge between the Kurdish and Turkish communities.

“Unless Turkish politicians quit that kind of misconception we will not be able to speak of peace,” he said.

In the meantime, he criticized PKK’s new policy that calls for the collapse of the AKP government, describing it as “wrong and a strategic mistake.” Aktar also believes the AKP government has not presented a viable solution for the conflict. “AKP does not have a solution for the Kurdish issue,” he said. “AKP politicians are ignorant about the Kurdish issue and they think that with military operations they can change the Kurdish situation.”

On the other hand, Gulten Kisanak, the co-chair of the Peace and Democracy Party [BDP] says there is still hope for peace. Regarding PKK’s recent strategy towards the AKP, Kisanak said, “We do not say the AKP must breakdown, but we reject its policies on the Kurds.”Kisanak said AKP leaders are taking advantage of the Gaziantep bombing.

“AKP tries to show its policy on Syria as the right one while it stirs the public opinion against the Kurds.” Kisanak said.Kisanak who is also a member of the Turkish parliament and several other Kurdish MPs recently came under attack from the AKP after they met with PKK guerrillas near Shemzinan.

“The government knows very well that the gates to Shemzian are under guerilla control,” she said. “The place where we saw the guerrillas was only 10 KM from a Turkish military base. We went there to use that fact in the service of peace.” Kisanak who embraced one of the guerrilla’s said, “Guerrillas are there because of no solution to the Kurdish case. They are our relatives and we should not see them as terrorists anymore.”