If there is to be a new beginning to the reconciliation process, it must put the state at the center and not let the PKK to establish its hegemony in the southeast as it is currently trying to do
The ongoing conflict between the state's armed forces and the PKK in the southeast continues with growing intensity. While on the one hand the state is moving forward around a new and encompassing security concept of destroying the PKK in cities to establish public order once again, the PKK is, in turn, continuing the struggle around a new battle concept of digging ditches, setting up barricades and planting roadside bombs in the middle of city centers and apartment buildings.
Throughout this process, the PKK has been conducting a policy of intimidation against civilians, especially due to the lack of support from the Kurdish population in the region for the new, armed rebellion it began after July 14, 2015. The PKK terrorizes daily life by systematically causing civilian deaths and the destruction of public buildings and civilian dwellings. Currently, PKK leaders encourage the Kurdish public to "rebel in every area" and ask them not to receive any public services from the Turkish government. The PKK can easily use violence against those it considers to be conspirators in the Kurdish population for receiving public services from the state. Furthermore, the people who are killed or injured due to PKK violence are being cast as victims of "civilian massacres" systematically conducted by the state.
The petition that has been widely debated in the past few days that was signed by 1,128 academics that mostly support the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), titled "We will not be a party to this crime," also has the purpose of spreading the propaganda of this particular approach of the PKK. Indeed, the petition, which accuses the government of Turkey of having conducted genocide against its own people, has received harsh reactions from government officials. At the foundation of this lie is the thought that there is a desire to impede the state's struggle with terrorism. In the petition, the theme of genocide is placed at the fore, and public officials who are at the head of the struggle against terrorism are threatened with being convicted by international courts. Additionally, the petition serves to garner legitimacy in the international arena for the PKK's armed struggle with its agenda of separatism. Just as the HDP has taken up serving the PKK's ends with politics as its principle, so have academics who support the HDP taken up the effort to garner international legitimacy for the PKK and cast the state as a systematic killing machine. In this sense, the petition underlines the PKK and HDP's perspective of either autonomy or fascism, and thus labels the PKK the founding actor of autonomy, while the state is the fascist actor.
PKK soft power
The PKK organizing such a campaign by assembling pro-HDP academics is not just about military ends. While the PKK is attempting to win on the ground through hard power, it is also in search of developing a new soft power strategy. The most important reason for this is the PKK's efforts to go back to the table. This means that because the PKK has been cornered, it now shows a desire to go back to the reconciliation table. It is obvious that the PKK has experienced many losses due to operations led by the state. But still, the PKK continues its efforts to get back to the reconciliation table in a manner that will serve its strategic aims. In this sense, the PKK is doing two things. The first is to write a new history about the now defunct reconciliation process, and the second is to find an international partner for a new reconciliation process.
The PKK has been advancing the thesis that the reconciliation process that began in 2013 ended due to the state's fears. The developments in Rojova are alleged to be the main cause for this fear and the legitimacy gained there has brought President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his crew to the point of madness, the argument goes. With this, the National Security Council's Oct. 30, 2014, meeting is shown as the turning point, and the reconciliation period ended due to the decision arrived at there.
However, three weeks before this meeting, the PKK and HDP had called on Kurds to come to the streets using the DAESH siege of Kobani as a pretext, and more than 50 civilians lost their lives in the ensuing street violence. Another question that requires answers is why the PKK currently keeps referring to the "Dolmabahçe meeting" that occurred after this date and why it waited until July 14, 2015, to say, "The reconciliation process has ended, the revolutionary people's fight has begun," when its imprisoned leader, Abdullah Öcalan, had given a Nevruz message on March 21 in favor of the reconciliation process.
The second step the PKK has taken within the framework of returning to the reconciliation table has been to find itself an international partner. In this sense, as has frequently been said previously, it has requested that the U.S. be involved as a third party in the process. A few days ago Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) Vice-Chair Cemil Bayık repeated this call and invited the U.S. to the table.
As before, the PKK is attempting to use the reconciliation table as a means of creating a hegemonic arena for itself in the new period. From the start, however, the Turkish government considered the reconciliation process quite legitimately as a means of establishing its hegemony within national borders. It is not possible now to establish a new reconciliation process without placing this concern of the Turkish state in the center. The one who must know this before anyone else is Turkey's ally, the United States.
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