Back to 1990s on Kurdish woe
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish Armed Forces and the police have laucnhed operations to rescue the local polticians kidnapped by the PKK. Hürriyet photoThe outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) recent attacks against civilians in East and Southeast Anatolia points to a return to Turkey’s dark 1990s era, which was characterized by severe clashes and killings, according to politicians and academics.
“The PKK attacked many civilians such as public workers, teachers and construction sites in the 1990s. This hasn’t been happening for a long time, but the recent incidents show that the PKK has moved into the cities,” Vahap Coşkun, a professor at Diyarbakır’s Dicle University, recently told the Hürriyet Daily News.
Coşkun said the broadening of the attacks stemmed from the ongoing arrests of Kurdish politicians in the ongoing Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) operations. The KCK is accused of being the urban wing of the PKK.
Meanwhile, others say the reason for civilian attacks is the result of the government’s failure to handle the Uludere killings, as well as regional tension.
“The government’s blind approach to the killing of civilians in Uludere [in which the military botched an air raid, killing 34 civilians last year] has prompted a return-game approach in the PKK. This has brought an understanding that ‘if the state is killing civilians, the PKK will also do the same,” İbrahim Güçlü, a Kurdish politician and writer, told the Daily News.
Güçlü said the second reason for the civilian attacks was a growing power game in the region between Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey.
“Turkey’s relationship with Syria has been deteriorating and Turkey is getting closer with the Kurdistan Regional Government [KRG]. I think that the PKK is getting closer to the Syrian government and is also receiving support from [Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri] al-Maliki,” Güçlü said. “The PKK is at the center of a regional power struggle and the attacks are a reflection of this tension.”
On May 13, Justice and Development Party (AKP) Diyarbakır province Kulp district head Veysel Çelik was kidnapped by a group of PKK militants. Later, the AKP’s deputy provincial head for the southeastern province of Şırnak was murdered in front of his house.
Meanwhile, a Turkish noncommissioned officer died in hospital after he was shot as he walked home from his military unit in the eastern province of Muş yesterday.
“The officer’s killing is also a civilian attack because he was not shot in an operation. All of this shows that the PKK does not want a negotiation; this means war,” Güçlü said.
Coşkun also said the upcoming summer would produce fierce clashes.
“This is very problematic because it removes the possibility of democratic politics,” Coşkun said, adding that the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) should intervene.
“The BDP hasn’t made any comments on the recent kidnappings or deaths. They are criticizing the KCK arrests but what the PKK is doing is the same [thing],” Coşkun said.
Güçlü, meanwhile, also said the Turkish government should rethink its handling of the Kurdish issue.
“The government is just focusing on the presidency debate right now. A new constitution is being made, but what are they doing for the Kurdish issue?” he said.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.