Who is in control?

Who is in control?

It was good that the Interior Ministry’s press section issued a statement and corrected a statement attributed to Interior Minister Efkan Ala that the Turkish state has lost control of the southeastern parts of the country to the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) gang. “Such news doesn’t reflect the reality” the ministry said.

What is the real situation? Who indeed is in control of the southeastern parts of the country? Is it the state or the gang? If some people in khaki uniforms, armed with Kalashnikovs and hand grenades can block roads, highways, stop cars, conduct ID checks and collect ransom, there ought to be some serious problem regarding under whose control is that region. Is it possible for any country to accept roads to some of its towns and scores of villages to be cut off for weeks by some people clad in some sort of khaki uniform, resembling a military force?

Journalist, writer Etyen Mahçupyan must have difficulty accommodating his new job as chief advisor of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu – a duty he said he had no option to turn down. Mahçupyan said his first task as advisor to the premier was to write the text of a propaganda speech for Davutoğlu.

Mahçupyan said the “resolution process” required contributions of both the state and the gang. “If either of the two sides say it is no longer participating in the process, that’s the end of it. The PKK as well has earned a lot in this process. They produced a politician like Selahattin Demirtaş, who is appreciated by everyone. They covered considerable areas as regards achieving legitimacy. They consolidated their power in the region to such an extent that today public order in the region is in the hands of the PKK, not the state. That’s why the prime minister is trying to emphasize public order.”

Oh la la… If all these were not a form of confession from a top aide, but claims by an opponent, the government would have ordered prosecutors to take adequate vanishing methods against that opponent, a news blackout would be imposed and the prime minister with his almond mustache would appear in one of those propaganda speeches and tell the nation with his still face what a great conspiracy – most probably from the “parallel state” – was prevented.

Obviously Mahçupyan will learn as well how to say things in such a manner that he would not indulge in serious issues in the first place, but also how to leave some doors open for a U-turn with little or no damage. Is that not Turkish-style politics?

What I understand from the retracted statement of the interior minister and the yet to be retracted statement from Mahçupyan is that the Turkish state plunged into some serious sovereignty problem by the government, which is yet incapable of coming out with a remedy to this problem either. Worse, however, is still to come. Does anyone in the government believe that the heavy arms Turkey allowed the northern Iraqi peshmerga to carry through Turkish territory into Syria to help the defense of Kobane will not land in the hands of the PKK and be used against Turkey tomorrow?

The government might be comfortable – and I understand from statements from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – that Americans arranged the peshmerga passage to Kobane through Turkey, despite Turkey’s opposition. Yet despite its discomfort and in spite of Erdoğan’s reassertions that the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the PKK are just two different names for the same beast, somehow this country has become a strange bed fellow to both.

Who is in control of southeastern Anatolia is of course important, but there appears to be a far more important question: Who is in control of Turkey? The Turkish government or who? Shall we wait for a government minister’s gaffe or a slip of the tongue of a top advisor or look what’s happening and make our own intelligent guess?