Why the surge in terrorism?
Let no one make wrong calculations. Irrespective of political view, the June 7 elections must be read in realism. The ruling Justice and development Party (AKP) lost the June vote, but its 40.08 percent vote share was bigger or just a nuance smaller than the combined vote of any two of the other three parties. The loser, therefore, was also the winner of the June poll.
Public opinion polls cannot be reliable. Those done by the biggest opponents of the AKP place it in between the 35-39 percent band, while pro-AKP pollsters or those paid by the AKP place the ruling party slightly better than its June performance at around 41-42 percent. Either way, it must be clear for everyone that most likely the Nov. 1 polls (if they can be held at all) will most likely produce a result very much like the present parliament. Thus, will it be fortune-telling to think President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will not be happy with this result either and Turkey will probably head to a repeat of the repeat election sometime in March?
Hopefully not. Perhaps this time, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), particularly after the indecent Tuğrul Türkeş affair between itself and the Erdoğan-Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu duo, will refuse to be the crutch or lifeboat of the troubled AKP, cooperate with the rest of the opposition and come to power as part of a “grand coalition” of the three opposition parties. Well, saying it is obviously far easier than doing it. To achieve that, the MHP must import tons of reason, common sense and some degree of realism.
Since the June 7 elections, due to rising separatist terrorism and terrorism-related violence, at least 158 Turks lost their lives. The small lifeless boy on shore nearby a plush touristic resort Bodrum beach became symbol of the ordeal of Syrian refugees and captured all of our hearts, but the kids losing their lives at Cizre and elsewhere because of terrorism are laid down silently. Was Cemile of Cizre less important than the Aylan of Bodrum? Definitely not. One was three years old, the other seven. They were both innocent. One ended up dead on a Bodrum beach, one ended up dead, stored in a deep freeze as she could not even be taken to a hospital morgue. In every ugly war or struggle, kids apparently pay a heavy price.
But, why does Turkey have this surge in terrorism after the June elections, while for the past three years before the June vote there was almost complete silencing of guns? What has changed? Why up until the last days of the June campaign period there was peace but from the Diyarbakır rally of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on and later “Peace process is in a deep freeze” declaration of Erdoğan, there was a rapid escalation of terrorism? Why did the separatist gang declare all of a sudden the period of “silent guns” had ended?
Many people awaited the outcome of the June 7 poll to see the end of the AKP’s sufficient parliamentary majority to form a single party government but Erdoğan and his men were aware of the situation. They were aware that the good old days were over. Were they, then, behind the Diyarbakır blast and later the Suruç bombing? It would be insane to think that a president and a ruling party could conspire or share a part in such heinous acts.
Yet, even top political figures confessed that should the nation have given the ruling party sufficient majority to rule the country “in stability,” the post-election’s chaotic situation could have been averted.
Anyway, why do we have a surge in terrorism and terrorism-related violence? First, a look at the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) flank might give a strong clue to the answer. What is the PKK and for what reason was it established in the late 1970s? Did not the gang derive whatever legitimacy it had from the oppression of the country’s Kurdish population in many ways? If an ethnic group is deprived of its language, culture, ethnic identity for whatever reason, terrorist gangs like the PKK might find themselves ordained with the legitimacy of “rebelling the oppressor.” The PKK was never, ever representative of the Kurds nor was it ever a group rebelling to acquire fundamental rights of Kurdish people. It was just a terrorist network, supported by some of Turkey’s enemies, as well as allies for several reasons. Could that PKK still have its claimed raison d’être if there were 80 deputies elected to parliament on the ticket of a Kurdish party? Thus, the PKK has been probably trying to kill the civilian politics card to again gain the upper hand in micro-Kurdish nationalist politics.
The AKP, on the other hand, can no longer get the Kurdish vote because it lost all its reliability but needs at least 18 additional seats in parliament in the repeat election. How it can do this, since Kurds are no longer a hope? By turning again to the nationalist vote. Thus, the nationalist rhetoric of the AKP, fuelled by the surge in terrorism and “determined fight” against terrorism, serve AKP targets well.
Yet, to the detriment of other plans, apparently Kurds are aligning more with the HDP, while the MHP is becoming more popular among nationalists because of these unpleasant developments.