Just a few months ago, everybody seemed to believe that the Kurdish political movement had a bright future ahead. Selahattin Demirtaş, the Peoples' Democratic Party's (HDP) presidential candidate, had performed quite well during the campaign season to partly eliminate resistance against the Kurdish community's demands and even gain the sympathy of some voters for the movement. The considerable achievement of Demirtaş, who won roughly 10 percent of the vote, got their hopes up. After all, the HDP's candidate, endorsed by the PKK, managed to attract not only pro-Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Kurds but also secularist voters in western Turkey. This situation led many observers to suggest that the HDP would fill the void in opposition ranks by reaching out to the entire country.
If an election were to take place under the current circumstances, however, the HDP would probably fail to receive more than 5 percent of the vote. Today, nobody seriously believes that the party intends to develop policies for the entire nation. Meanwhile, Demirtaş, the party's once appealing face, has been reduced to a weak and inept politician of questionable credibility.
Obviously, a political movement could occasionally consider high-cost moves considering that such acts fit into their broader strategy. However, if the movement's strategy simultaneously incurs high costs and fails to secure its interests, such a situation could only be meaningful in an irrational context. Unfortunately, the Kurdish political movement's short-lived attempt to rebel against the government has amounted to little more than this. Although the movement justified the rebellion with reference to the likelihood of Kobani's fall and the need to push Ankara to assist Kurdish fighters, the demonstrations led to the death of nearly 40 Kurds – some of whom passed away at the hands of PKK militants whose methodology closely resembled those of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). With the exception of two casualties that resulted from a mix-up involving the police, the death toll was caused by an armed struggle among the Kurds. Meanwhile, the PKK and HDP lost some hard-earned points from national public opinion along with their only chance to put pressure on the government. If there was any possibility that Turkey would provide military assistance to Kobani in the first place, the most recent wave of protests effectively eliminated the likelihood. As such, an irrational strategy has further isolated Kobani.
The main reason that the Kurdish political movement lost touch with common sense was that the political romanticism over Rojava clouded their political rationality. The PKK and its affiliates believed Rojava to represent the physical domain of the revolutionary change that they had awaited for a century. At last, Kurds were working to build a democratic and autonomous polity in line with their "progressive" ideology. Rojava's autonomy, at the same time, served as a bargaining chip for the PKK in its encounters with Ankara while making it more likely for a similar administration to emerge on Turkish soil. The plans, however, were rather fragile since it was unlikely to survive once the chaos inside Syria ended. Perhaps the PKK believed that its successful campaign of military resistance in Turkey could prove adequate to gain a foothold in Syria. Facing ISIS-operated heavy weapons on the battlefield, however, was rather different. At the end of the day, the organization had to evacuate Kobani and devote its resources to its defense. Kobani's loss, they believed, would mark the end of a century-long dream, which brought the movement to the brink of a panic attack that neither Demirtaş nor PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan could prevent.
Let us add, however, that certain elements within the HDP, which are affiliated with the Turkish left, have promoted the idea of rebellion from the beginning. Meanwhile, columnists seeking to re-direct Kurds to armed struggle welcomed the party's call to take to the streets. Without a doubt, they aimed to turn the Kurdish resistance into a sequel of the Gezi Park protests. Over the past few days, wild imagination, romanticism and irrationality have empowered one another to pave the way to a tragic mirage. In the end, though, the government managed to score some additional points by reiterating its commitment to the reconciliation process.