BARÇIN YİNANÇ > Turkey’s talk with the PKK justifies its ties to Hamas

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The mid-1990s constituted the darkest period in Turkey’s struggle with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), marked by widespread torture and extrajudicial killings. Turkey was the target of intensive international criticism that even included Turkey’s traditional ally, Washington. When Turkey was told by the Western world that the Kurdish problem could not be solved by military measures, the answer was: “The Turkish state will not give in to terror and won’t sit and negotiate with terrorists.”

The Oslo process that started in the first half of the 1990s between Israelis and Palestinians provided a tremendous relief to Turkey’s isolation, as it opened the doors to a normalization of relations with Israel.

“There is no country other than Israel that can better understand your suffering from terrorism.” This and similar messages, voiced at the highest level by Israeli officials, came as music to the ears of Turks. The Turkish government, as well as an important section of the public, ignored the implication in the message that Israel was able to sympathize with Turkey because the Jewish state also perceived itself as victim of terrorism. No one, other than some of the founding fathers of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), dared to say that what Israel called terrorism could be seen as part of the Palestinian resistance.

The psychological effect was huge on Israel’s side as well, since the Israeli public thought that finally a country in the region - and a Muslim one at that - understood their plight against “Palestinian terrorists.” This was a huge delusion. That’s why the AKP’s contacts with Hamas, as well as the Davos and Mavi Marmara incidents, came as a big shock to Israelis. They thought the Turkish public would understand that what Hamas is to an Israeli is what the PKK is to a Turk.

Now that Turkey is talking to the PKK to achieve permanent peace, Israel - and all the other Western countries that have added Hamas alongside the PKK in the list of terrorist organizations - have lost their biggest counter argument against Turkey’s call to recognize Hamas as an interlocutor. This, however, is not going to make Hamas’ job any easier. But one thing is for certain, easing the blockade on Gaza will not in itself suffice to satisfy Turkey’s appetite for a pro-active Palestinian policy. As İbrahim Kalın, the advisor to the Turkish prime minister, was saying in a televised interview on Monday, Turkey will continue to actively work for a two state solution based on 1967 borders. For that to be achieved, it will first push for Palestinian unification and consequently for talks to resume for a solution.

Knowing that Israel’s strategy is based on gaining time to maintain the status quo, even if the near impossible task of getting Palestinians unified is achieved, it will still be difficult to start genuine talks for peace. That is, of course, unless there is “shock therapy” that will leave no choice but to negotiate.

Recall how Turkey shocked the world, but above all the Greek Cypriots, when it said it would no longer be the one to stay away from negotiations and it would sit at the table with all good will, devoid of any pre-conditions or prejudices.

Is it too utopian to think that Turkey convincing Hamas to recognize the existence of Israel would disarm Israeli arguments not to talk to Hamas? After all, Turkey did not start talks with the PKK’s leader only because of exhaustion from terror and the recognition of the legitimate rights of Kurds, but also because the PKK no longer talks of independence.


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Vargen Vargen

4/2/2013 9:48:33 PM

The analysis is not very relevant. But to continue in the same way, What would Turkey have though if Israel invited the leader of PKK and greeted him as a King in big arenas? What would Turkey like if PKK claimed that Turkey as a state does not have the right to exist? What would Turkey think if Israel demanded totally free borders for PKK to receive weapons? What would Turkey have thought if Israel had sent convoys to Turkey¨s Kurdish part and started fighting with the Turkish border patrol?


4/2/2013 8:51:43 PM

Ms. Yinanc, does the PKK have a chapter calling for the complete and absolute destuction of Turkey? No? I didn't think so either... This being the case, let us positively aver that nothing "justifies Turkey's ties to Hamas." Regards

Bear Klein

4/2/2013 8:48:58 PM

People who desire peace will need to open their eyes and realize that the two state solution is an illusion. Israel can not rationally provide more land to people who want to destroy it. Gaza is the best example; Israel left in tact complete hot houses so Gazans' could keep being employed in the hot houses. These hot houses where successful businesses. They are now terror camps. First they were completely stripped of all parts by the locals. Israel can not leave the West Bank to terrorists.

ismail demir

4/2/2013 5:03:18 PM

The rights are given to Kurds are the dream of Hamas and Iran.If Israel gives the same rights Turkey gives the Kurds.Israel would be Arabic majority country with %92 of lands belong to Arabs.That is dream for Hamas and Ahmedinecad.Barcin Yinanc mentioned Kurds and Palestinian demands without comparing what they had lost.

ismail demir

4/2/2013 2:16:20 AM

Very wrong analysis, writer imply Kurds do not demand state but Palestinians do so Israel is right not to negotiate.But the problem is, all Anatolian Kurds are Turkish citizens have voting, property and working rights.Israel just gives 1.5 Million Palestinians same rights and put condition to 8-9 Million Palestinians to give up every rights including property in peace process.If Turkey does what Israel did, world shows 100 times more reaction to Turkey than Israel.
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