Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Where Does Responsibility Rest? Kurds Think Turkey

(Photo: Sedat Suna, EPA)
"The celebrations were coming to an end and there was a big explosion among people dancing."
"There was blood and body parts everywhere."
Veli Can, 25, Gaziantep, Turkey

"We know very well to what extent wedding attacks can sow disorder in [the] nation's social fabric from the Afghanistan experience."
"Putting these three organizations [PKK, Gulenists, Islamic State] with different political objectives, tactics and techniques into the same basket ... causes the failure of tailoring specific counter strategies."
Metin Gurcan, security expert, former Turkish military officer

"This attack targets those determined and persistent in peace, resolution, and those struggling for democracy, equality, freedom and justice."
"The attack was planned to disable the spread of peace and success of possible negotiations [for an end to the conflict between Kurdish militants and government of Turkey]."
Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party statement

"This was a barbaric attack. It appears to be a suicide attack. All terror groups, the PKK, Daesh, the [Gulen movement] are targeting Turkey. But God willing, we will overcome."
Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek
The explosion in the Sahinbey district of Gaziantep was so loud it could be heard in many areas of the city. The death toll now stands at 54 in this deadly attack on a wedding party with mostly Kurds in attendance. Some of whom, like the bride who was unhurt, had moved from Siirt where they felt more exposed to violence, to find peace and protection in Gaziantep.

The horrible news from government investigators that a boy between the age of 12 and 14 blew himself up with a suicide vest has now been retracted with the admission that authorities don't quite know who was involved in the explosion, Given the victims' identities how likely is it that the Kurdistan Workers Party was responsible, as posited by Recep Tayyip Erdogan?

If the antagonist prepared to slaughter dozens of innocent people is a source that ordinarily attacks Kurds that would be the Turkish military itself. Not the Gulenist sympathizers. And if ISIL wanted to attack Turkey why would it target Kurdish civilians living in Turkey rather than Kurds (along with the PKK) in Iraq and Syria whose militias have been successfully challenging Islamic State?

As far as Turkish President Erdogan is concerned he sees no difference between ISIL, Gulen followers or the PKK; the attackers, he said, were attempting to "provoke people by abusing ethnic and sectarian sensitiveness". In so pronouncing he is actually enunciating his own manipulative plans; his words echo what he has led Turkey into.

Turkey is a country divided, on a knife-edge of collapse, with competing interests roiling the nation that Erdogan brought back to Islamism and is even so in the process of moving ever closer to what the legendary Ataturk spurned, guiding his country closer to Europe and its ideals and values to haul Turkey into the 20th Century where he meant it to remain and to thrive.

What Erdogan has succeeded in doing is dedicating himself to purging the military, the judiciary, the police, academia, the civil service and journalism of any and all opponents to his vision of a Turkey reborn to resemble the glory days of the Ottoman Empire. The coup conveniently played into his hands, enabling the emergency state, prolonged so he and his cabinet can bypass Parliament and continue suspending rights and freedoms, passing new laws with the impunity of non-interference.
"By rejecting Turkey's European Union prospects [the issue of capital punishment returned] persecuting large sections of society and challenging the United States (Turkey's major ally), Mr. Erdogan is not only alienating disparate forces that would undermine any military intervention -- he also risks uniting them against him. As his A.K.P won half the votes in the last elections, a united anti-A.K.P. front would lead to even more dangerous division. This could, in turn, encourage further Islamization, with Mr. Erdogan relying on more extremist forces to crack down on his opponents, which include Kurdish separatists."
Nikos Konstandaras, Intelligence, Opinion & Commentary, The New York Times

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