Erdoğan pushes Öcalan to the forefront
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has toughened his stance toward the Kurdish issue recently. The previous Erdoğan is gone, and an Erdoğan who prioritizes toughness has come.
I have been reiterating this: “The prime minister will not want to take any political risks until the 2014 presidential elections, or even the 2015 general elections. Especially to attract the Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) nationalist votes, it is reasonable that he adopts a tougher stance on the Kurdish issue.” Just like me, many other experts shared the same impression and made pessimistic comments.
We have reached this conclusion after assessing the prime minister’s speeches, his attitude toward the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and the KCK arrests.
However, interestingly, there have been different signals coming from Ankara for a while. Those who are close to the prime minister managing the Kurdish issue are stating that the situation is not at all as it looks.
As an example, they cite the hunger strikes. They point to the prime minister’s approval behind Öcalan’s intervention.
According to Ankara
The same circles draw attention to the strikes being started by Kandil (Mountain), Öcalan being against the strikes and Öcalan, together with Ankara, taking it in his hand. Moreover, the fact that it was the family instead of the lawyers who were allowed to go to İmralı is shown as the product of this convergence.
The prime minister’s other pressure is especially geared toward the “pro-Kandil segment” within the BDP. The lifting of political immunity is especially the result of this policy, it is believed.
Another step is KCK arrests. Despite all criticisms, it is emphasized that KCK arrests will continue.
In this way, Ankara is planning to decrease the political power of both Kandil and the BDP during solution negotiations, if not all together exclude it. Efforts are toward deactivation as much as possible.
We are facing a completely different picture.
Actually, Öcalan is carried to the forefront.
According to the officials I contacted, the project behind all these maneuvers is the idea of taking significant steps on the Kurdish issue before the 2014 elections. Much more important decisions than the famous Kurdish initiative are being prepared, it is claimed.
Will all this strategy bear fruit, or will it again be an inconclusive initiative? Nobody can know that side of the matter.
Target voting rate
Everything is locked to the 2014 presidential elections. Ankara’s only target it is to have Erdoğan elected in the first round with 57-58 percent of the votes. The Justice and Development Party (Ak Party) and the government bureaucracy are busy looking for ways to reach this result.
Whenever the prime minister opens a debate on a new subject, it is decided depending on its possible effects on elections results. Constantly renewed opinion polls are highly effective. There is a survey on almost every topic. Not like the other parties, where they depend on occasional feedback and reports filed from the party organization.