The state is conducting large-scale operations in response to the large-scale insurgency initiated by the PKK in many Kurdish areas in the southeast, including Diyarbakır, Cizre, Silopi and Nusaybin. Even though great progress had been made in the reconciliation process and significant investments were made in the southeastern region in recent years, it has unfortunately turned into a land of ghost cities once again as the PKK digs ditches and the state deploys tanks to fill them in and ensure security.
The southeast is witnessing a major uprising. The PKK is inflicting an atrocity on Kurds who were victimized by the state in the 1980s and 1990s, who were displaced from their villages, imprisoned just because of their ethnicity and were tortured in the most atrocious way. This time it is the PKK that digs the ditches, lays traps and prevents children from going to school by destroying roads. The state is conducting an all-out operation against the terrorist organization, which overtly challenges the state itself. But is the state completely innocent in this situation? Even though the Gendarmerie Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism (JİTEM), which was the covert organization of the shadow state of the 1990s, is over, the state should be very careful and be aware that it is dealing with a victimized and vulnerable public.
The PKK, which essentially organized and fought in rural areas, changed its tactics as the civil war broke out in Syria. Following the battle in Kobani, the PKK also moved into cities. Now we have the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H), which clashes with the police in cities, rather than the PKK, which clashes with soldiers in the mountains. The YDG-H consists of young people recruited from the southeast and who are given arms. These arms, which seem to have been piled up during the reconciliation process, are coming to light right now. This is an important indicator that the PKK approached the reconciliation process hypocritically.
There is certainly a difference of opinion between those who view the situation from the western parts of the country and those who experience them. I interviewed many reliable sources to understand this diversity of opinion. One of them said: "Houses and tunnels are connected to each other in Diyarbakır and in many neighborhoods of Cizre. These were prepared during the reconciliation process. If one enters a house, he passes by 50 houses [through tunnels]. So, it is very hard to capture them."
Another source living in the heart of the scene of the clashes in Diyarbakır summarized the dominant perspective as follows: "Both sides are guilty. Even though the armed group digs these ditches, no one wants to leave Turkey. But why do these youngsters take up arms? We voted for this government so that it would employ them. Let them come and investigate these [clashes]."
The things I heard summarize the impasse in the region perfectly. A public, which was oppressed by the state, is facing the violence of an organization they regard as a savior, but they do not respond to this violence altogether at once. Rather, they blame both parties.
The signs of life have disappeared in the southeast. Obviously, the mentality of the state is changing positively, but it should not condone even a single mistake to win the trust of the Kurdish population in this struggle in order to prove that the state is no longer the state of the past. To this end, it should also pay attention to the discourse it adopts.
Meanwhile, the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which achieved considerable success by receiving 13 percent of the vote in the June 7 general elections, supports terror instead of pursuing political channels. It mistakes praising terror and violence for doing politics. A recent statement from HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş at a press conference went down in history as a disgrace. He described YDG-H members, who oppress Kurds with arms and traps and turn the region into a battlefield, as "resistant youngsters." Let us remind Demirtaş that praise of terrorism is not a part of freedom of expression anywhere in the world.
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