This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Erdogan's Personal War Against the Kurds

"On February 17 in the evening a suicide attack was carried out by a sacrifice warrior on a military convoy of the fascist Turkish Republic in Ankara... The attack was realised by the Immortal Battalion of the TAK."
"Tourism... is a major target we aim to destroy. We warn the foreign and native tourists not go to the touristic areas in Turkey. We are not responsible for who will die in the attacks targeting those areas."
Kurdistan Freedom Hawks [TAK] arm of Kurdistan Workers Party [PKK]
When previous bombings occurred in Turkey, one near a town on the border with Syria where Turkish Kurds and socialist peace activists had gathered with the intention of giving aid to the rebuilding of Kobani, and the second in Ankara when a similar group of young social activists and Kurds had gathered for a peace rally, it was they in particular who were targeted for death. It would seem obvious that militant Turkish Islamists targeted them.

Wednesday's suicide bombing killed 28 people, most of them soldiers [Reuters]

This time, it was Turkish members of the military that were the targets in a rush-hour car bomb that killed up to 28 and injured many more. The Turkish authorities have, they say, identified the assailant as a Syrian Kurd. Claiming that Salih Necar drove an explosives-laden vehicle into shuttle buses full of military personnel and civilians outside the air force headquarters; and he is among the dead. A day later, six Turkish soldiers in the mostly Kurdish province of Diyarbakir died in a bomb attack.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his equally Islamist Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, may claim that it was a member of the YPG that was responsible for the Ankara bombing, but it makes little sense for that offshoot of the Turkish PKK to risk their good standing with and support from Washington, in being responsible for an attack of that nature. Nor is Washington interested in viewing the YPG as a terrorist group as urged upon them by Ankara, since they are invaluable as a fighting bulwark against Islamic State.

The PKK has turned its fighting forces to urban centers in the mostly Kurdish southeast of Turkey. Its youth wing has been involved in a bloody conflict with  Turkish security forces, and as a result it is explicable that PKK fighters would focus on targeting army convoys. It is probable that they were responsible for the Ankara bombing. Why would they not be, since Turkey has been targeting them, the Kurdish majority towns in Turkey, killing militants and civilians alike?

Turkey could have succeeded in a permanent treaty bringing an end to the conflict between Ankara and the PKK. The main Kurdish political party which had won a substantial number of seats in the  election preceding the final one last year, might have supported Erdogan's push for greater powers for the presidency and an altered constitution, but his suspicion of links to the PKK and ulterior autonomy motivations poisoned that well.

The PKK influenced their political wing that the "sultan" was not to be trusted. Ankara was, among other things, arming jihadis in Syria (Islamic State) against the YPG. The fact that medical services had been given to wounded YPG fighters and over a quarter of a million Syrian Kurdish refugees had been given haven from the Syrian regime in Turkey, failed to positively influence the Kurds that Turkey had their best interests in mind. They were just too familiar with Erdogan and with history.

When the PKK on the other hand put together a ten-point roadmap for peace, Erdogan would have nothing to do with it, and communication between the two was cut, and the attacks by the Turkish military against the PKK and Kurdish civilians began. Because of that resumption of civil war and violence perpetrated by both sides against the other, alienation and radicalization is assured.

The Turks are increasingly resentful and suspicious of the Kurds, and the Kurds have returned the compliment in spades.

Kurdish youth who picked up urban warring skills fighting against the Islamic State in Syria, are using those same hard-won battlefield skills to challenge Turkish security forces, while others fight alongside the YPG in Kobani, and nationalist feelings by Turks are steadily inflamed by incidents such as the latest bombing event in Ankara.

Syrian Kurdish forces (file pic)
  Turkey fears Syrian Kurdish forces will take over a key corridor along the border -- Reuters
The eccentric, polarizing tactics of Recep Tayyip Erdogan whose mental fireworks have put the U.S. and NATO on notice that some distance may be required of a man capable of provoking the ire of allies and enemies alike, and whose destabilizing tactics may lead toward a larger regional conflict.

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