Turkey, NATO and a very dangerous discussion
One of the penslingers of the government was on TV during Eid al-Adha. Constantly rubbing his Islamist-style beard, the penslinger was explaining what kind of a wild animal the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was, how it has been tolerated and indeed abetted by the United States, Germany, Britain and many other “key allies” of Turkey in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Most of what he was saying was indeed correct. Despite all denials by Western supporters and even collaborators of the PKK, Turkish intelligence has persistently pointed at such circles as one of the reasons why after so many operations over the past decades, the gang still has the capability to rearm itself. Naturally the Iraq War as well as the Syria quagmire helped it a lot as well, but in those unfortunate developments, were there not again the footprints of the same allies of Turkey – as well as of Turkey itself?
Whatever one may say, it is a fact that over the past few years, according to official data, the gang has been kidnapping small kids and using them in its deadly operations. Some 140 children in 2013, 983 children in 2014 and in the first eight months of this year, 929 kids were kidnapped from their families by the gang.
These were the figures of kidnapped kids as reported by their families to the police or the military. What about those who voluntarily send their kids up into the mountain to join the gang or who, out of fear of reprisal, could not declare that their young sons or daughters were taken by the gang?
It has become bitterly evident from the bodies recovered after PKK terrorist attacks in urban areas, as well as bodies recovered up in the mountains, that these young boys and girls are being used by the gang in its heinous crimes. Given that almost one-third of these boys and girls were below 15 years old, the dimension of the brutality becomes all the more evident. Obviously, what the PKK has been doing constitutes a crime against humanity. But, after all, was the PKK not a criminal gang?
Anyhow, who could say a word against the assertions of the beard-rubbing penslinger that the PKK has been a wild animal and must be exterminated? Naturally, after almost three decades of a low-intensity war against the PKK and losing more than 35,000 sons and daughters to it, Turks must know better than anyone else that fighting or the military option might not be the best way to deal with the gang. It was with this conviction that even those who had no confidence and trust in the government and remained skeptical about the Kurdish opening continued to support the “civilian approach” for a resolution.
Similarly, the Bashar al-Assad regime of Syria has been committing crimes against humanity. Can anyone come up and claim it was not? Definitely, once this war is over, those who were involved in crimes against humanity must face the International Tribunal and pay for the crimes they committed. Can anyone say a word against this?
Well, what about Turkey’s allies in Syria and Iraq? The current allies as well as yesterday’s allies? Were they less criminal than the Syrian government? Beheadings of all sorts, torture, rape and other incredible crimes against humanity have become routine in Syria and Iraq. Are those who were supporting the “moderate Islamists” who were mercilessly beheading people less criminal than those beasts?
The PKK is a criminal gang. What about the Democratic Union Party (PYD)? It is no secret that Turkey considers the PYD as the “Syria extension” of the PKK. Washington and the European allies of Turkey disagree. This is a very important point that Turks often do not see, meaning it fails to perceive the real emerging threat. The wild beast PKK could vanish in the medium term, but in the short term, another beast – but this time a domesticated gang with international legitimacy – is replacing it. That new animal is the PYD and its military wing is the People’s Defense Units (YPG). The consequences for Turkey in the very near future might be very bleak despite a possible great success against the PKK because a legitimate Kurdish political establishment might fill the post-PKK vacuum. Dreadful, is it not?
Now, reacting to a Washington statement that the American administration does not consider the PYD as a terrorist organization, the penslinger is demanding Turkish withdrawal from the American-led, trans-Atlantic security network NATO. Why? Because the penslingers and people alike live with the fear that instead of the PKK, the PYD and al-Assad, the West may take the Turkish leader to the International Tribunal like Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic?
No one would like to see any Turkish leader face such a situation. But, is it sane to discuss Turkey’s place in NATO under the current conditions? NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg might have acted rather impolitely when he advised Turkey to remain in the defensive in its fight with the PKK. Is it not the fundamental duty of any state to take whatever measures are required for the security of its citizens?
Yet, why discuss Turkey’s place in NATO? It is no secret that it is the style of the current regime in Turkey to float some oddities through such penslingers before taking a step. Let’s hope this was just an officious bootlicking act, not a coordinated action…