The situation in Kobani has ignited dangerous social and political strife in Turkey. The call for a massive uprising made by Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has created a violent counter-reaction on the part of conservative Turks, and the whole country has witnessed an unprecedented wave of hatred.
There are a number of issues whose conflagration has resulted in the present dangerous situation. First of all, the war in Syria has been going on for more than three years now without any tangible effort on the part of democratic countries to solve the problem or at least to end the bloodshed. This has resulted in an incredible number of casualties with more than 200,000 people killed. Nearly half of the Syrian population has had to leave their homes and towns to escape death and massacres. A total of 1.5 million Syrian refugees live safely on Turkish soil.
This huge influx of migrants has created social and economic problems that Turkey alone must deal with: Almost 230,000 are located in refugee camps, whose functioning has been seen as exemplary by the U.N. and other independent charity associations. But the remaining 1.3 million Syrians are located in southeastern cities in Turkey. They have also moved to major cities like Istanbul, but in the neighboring regions of Hatay and Gaziantep, the density of refugees is incredible. People have lived in a tense atmosphere for two years now and this creates latent tension that resulted in a social outburst overnight.
The HDP, which plays an instrumental role in supporting the reconciliation process, has taken the opportunity of the fighting in Kobani to put pressure on the government and to have the Turkish Armed Forces intervene in favor of or at least support Kurdish fighters against ISIS. The trouble is that the Democratic Union Party (PYD) fighters in Kobani are from the same military organization as the PKK, which waged a dirty war against Turkish security forces between 1983 and 2013. It would be a very difficult move on the part of the government to help the fighters in Kobani without encountering a very blunt reaction in public opinion, which remains extremely recalcitrant against any help extended to PKK fighters, as armaments or military support.
The HDP has made a historic mistake by calling on its supporters to take to the streets. Once the crowds took to the streets, they were attacked by other crowds who were already extremely tense and nervous. The social tension was mainly caused by the refugee situation and the warfare going on and because of the intransigency of Kurdish nationalists who blackmailed the reconciliation process. But there is also a large part of the population that does not want or support the process.
Provocations came one after the other and in two days, and more than 30 people, including two high-ranking police officers, lost their lives. The outburst was so impressive and dangerous that all the political leaders, beginning with jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and HDP Chairman Selahattin Demirtaş, have called for an immediate halt to violence and a return to stability. That may prove effective, but the opening of such a Pandora's box will leave deep scars. This has also shown that on the international scene the real motives of people constantly criticizing Turkey. An article advocating Turkey's dismissal from NATO has even been published in the very conservative POLITICO Magazine. Iran has also officially declared that they would never allow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to go. Positions are becoming crystal clear.