Fearing Destitution and Death, Turkey’s Kurds Plead With Lawless Courts
War Is Boring
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This is such a shallow article. I don’t support AKP and its most policies but what happened since 2015 July was a different story. Before 2015 AKP conducted negotiations with PKK and Abdullah Ocalan. BDP/PKK (a legal political party with strong organic ties with PKK) served as conduit between Ocalan and AKP government. During this phase PKK significantly decreased attacks, and pulled some of its armed forces from Turkey. PKK/Ocalan/BDP/HDP supported AKP during massive civil protests in June 2013. And government virtually stopped all military operations, security measures and prosecutions against PKK. AKP government did enormous work to promote this policy to its voters. For example they set up high profile “wise man committees” to market this policy, used government controlled media to create a soft and sympathetic language against PKK. Most important symbol of this policy is the “Habur event”. Several PKK guerrillas from Iraq camps entered Turkey from Habur border crossing on October 2009. Approximately 50.000 people (with pro-PKK flags and banners), BDP congressman, media and (yes) mobile courts judges welcomed them. At the mobile courts all PKK guerrillas were released immediately: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQMPa7d6WFg (They later returned back to PKK). In return AKP got strong voter support from all groups. AKP also had the highest support from Kurds all over the country. Largest Kurdish population is not in Diyarbakir, it is in Istanbul.

In those days, (even now) public knew very little about how the permanent solution would be like. PKK supporters had high hopes as Kurdish becoming official education language, autonomy, amnesty to all armed PKK guerrillas etc. For majority of voters anything above cultural rights would be very difficult to be adopted. It is safe to speculate that both sides did not regard this process as a permanent solution but a temporary stage to strengthen their current position to get a upper hand. AKP probably hoped it would be difficult for PKK to start war after a ceasefire period. The longer the ceasefire, less likely for PKK use weapons without sacrificing public support.

During this stage PKK increased its presence and recruitment very easily in south east areas where Kurdish population is concentrated. They even started to set up a shadow legal and administration system. At the 2015 summer, we also learnt that PKK had also stocked huge amounts of guns, ammunition and explosives for a ISIL style urban warfare. Many car/truck bombs with hundreds kilograms of explosives were detonated. Neighborhoods surrounded with ditches (trapped with IEDs), connected with underground tunnels and houses were connected by drilling large holes holes on walls. These were the ISIL tactics PKK learnt in Kobani. RPG, heavy machine gun and IED fire were so effective, weapons, and light armored vehicles of urban police forces were not enough to cope with the resistance. PKK tried to create cantons with the support of residents. But the local residents did not provide the support they hoped for. (Also pro-PKK party lost significant votes in November 2015 elections. Latest polls suggest they continue to lose votes.) PKK also conducted several very destructive urban bomb attacks. In February and March 2016, 2 car bomb killed 67 people in Ankara, capital city. In 2015–2016 more than 200 people, mostly civilians were killed by PKK urban bombed attacks (an example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Ankara_bombing) . I’m not claiming the AKP was pure and innocent but this warfare was not something they planned and got prepared. It took long time, so many mistakes, suffering and loses until Turkish army and police secured these neighborhoods.

In short, AKP and PKK did an unsustainable deal and provided false hopes to all voters. PKK used this time to get prepared for an urban warfare. Then the deal was broken. How and why the deal was broken is another complicated story but many believe PKK perceived an opportunity to create cantons in Southeast Turkey and merge with Syrian cantons. AKP also saw this as an opportunity to earn back the lost majority in parliament on June 2015 elections. At the end, many lives lost, cities ruined, communities suffered. Lots of angles and stories to tell but WIB publish such a shallow and incompetent article. WIB editorial team can do a google search and find more qualified contributors.

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