Expected to head for the administration in Bagdad, which it sees as "infidel," after seizing Mosul, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) terrorist group curiously marched on Irbil first and has established a considerable degree of supremacy in the area as well. Afterward, it began to advance toward Kobani in northern Syria. That attempt to occupy these two largely Kurdish-populated areas has closely affected the peace process in Turkey.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq was said to expect support from Turkey, even though the Turkish hostages had not yet been freed. Turkey received harsh and critical remarks, even if not from the high ranking officials of the Masoud Barzani administration. Strained relations between Turkey and the KRG seem to be getting back on track for the moment, after KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani renewed confidence in Turkey in the previous days.
But ISIS's attempt to occupy Kobani continues and it has besieged the region is on three sides. Turkey is providing a record amount of support in the form of humanitarian aid. In addition to the 1.5 million refugees already in Turkey, 130,000 Kurdish refugees also recently sought asylum in Turkey. However, the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and the PKK have taken a hostile attitude toward Ankara by distorting the truth. First, they said, "They opened the border to Arabs, but they will not allow Kurds into Turkey." When that didn't work, they claimed Ankara gave Kobani to ISIS in exchange for the hostages (as if it was possible).
As for the Democratic Union Party (PYD), it is still quarrelling with Ankara by spreading the lie that it supports ISIS even though Turkey accepted 130,000 people from Rojava in northern Syria at once. The PYD can, anyway, still ally with Turkey through backdoor diplomacy.
While thousands of Kurdish youth are crossing the border for what happened last week, Davutoğlu said, "We should take immediate action, because a provocation might erupt under the current conditions in the Middle East." Negotiations are planned to start through the Undersecretariat of Public Order and Security under Turkey's Interior Affairs. However, the Kurdish political movement has become the real provocation standing against the reconciliation process. Two days ago, we saw this strict and unreasonable attitude tended to change. First, a delegation of the HDP (People's Democratic Party) spoke with Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan. Second, HDP member Aysel Tuğluk expressed her discomfort for throwing a stone at Turkish police and stated she should not have done this.
Back in October 2013, Turkey declared ISIS as a terrorist group even before the announcement of other countries and the U.N. At that time, Turkey's attitude toward ISIS was clear. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan repeatedly said he will support a coalition against ISIS. This is because the hostile attitude of the Kurdish movement toward Turkey would only isolate them. HDP member Pervin Buldan is right. The Kurdish town of Kobani will be the test of the reconciliation process, yet the government is not the only one who must successfully pass it.
About the author
Hilal Kaplan is a journalist and columnist. Kaplan is also board member of TRT, the national public broadcaster of Turkey.