Increasing the democratization of the state, a buoyant economy benefiting the poor, enacting social policies and addressing the grievances of Christian and Jewish minorities bequeathed by the ultra-secularist old establishment all created momentum for Kurds to support the AK Party
The Kurdish reconciliation process officially began with the visits of three deputies from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) to the imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan at the island prison where he is held on Jan. 3, 2013. The process ended de facto with the uprising on Oct. 6-8, 2014. It was DP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş called people, at the request of the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), which is the umbrella organization that encompasses the PKK, to take to the streets. More than 50 civilians died in the ensuing violence, including the 17-year-old Kurdish teenager, Yasin Börü. Bearded Kurds leaving their homes were killed by members of the PKK's Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H) on the pretext that they were DAESH sympathizers. Let's remember what had happened before this turning point. The reconciliation process seemed to be proceeding smoothly at the time, except for the PKK's suspension of withdrawing from Turkey.
The HDP, with the support of secularist media spearheaded by Aydın Doğan's Hürriyet daily and TV stations and Gülenist media outlets, which saw it as an ally, had launched a propaganda campaign claiming Turkey provides DAESH with weapons. The greatest support for this campaign came from Gülen Movement-linked police officers, soldiers, prosecutors and judges who overstepped legal bounds and stopped National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks in Adana on Jan. 19, 2014. MİT trucks had already been intercepted before that incident on Jan. 1, 2014 in Kırıkhan, Hatay, but the operation failed to bring about the intended consequences. Following that incidence, Gülenists made another attempt on Jan. 19, with henchmen of Gülenist media present at the site to broadcast the operation live.
BYPASSING THE LAW
Here is a brief account of the events. Gülen Movement-linked former Adana Chief Public Prosecutor Süleyman Bağrıyanık, who is currently being held in pre-trial detention facing charges of treason, ordered the Adana Police Department, from which he demanded law enforcement officials stop the trucks heading for Syria on suspicion that they were carrying weapons and ammunition. Then Adana Governor Hüseyin Avni Coş arrived at the scene and ordered the police to release the trucks, as according to Turkish law, such an investigation cannot be conducted without the prime minister's permission. Bypassing the police, this time Bağrıyanık ordered former Adana Provincial Gendarmerie Regiment Commander Colonel Özkan Çokay to stop and search the vehicles.
Bağrıyanık reportedly warned Çokay that he would face charges, just as military officials in Hatay did, for failing to intercept the trucks if he did not carry out the order. Arriving at the scene with a 125-strong force, a gendarmerie team followed the prosecutor's instruction and searched the trucks. Coş arrived at the search area immediately after he learned of the operation. After obtaining an emergency command to stop the search, Coş notified the search team that the trucks belonged to the MİT and ordered the gendarmerie officials to stop the search. Although the governor had said that the trucks belong to the MİT, the prosecutor continued to demand that the MİT send a command to stop the search itself. Meanwhile, it turned out that information about the raid by the gendarmerie force was deliberately withheld from Coş, the head of the Gendarmerie General Command, General Servet Yörük, and the MİT regional director. That the operation, which had been hidden from high-ranking government officials, was conducted in the presence of television cameras revealed the real intention.
It can be said that the interception of the MİT trucks took place upon a failure to achieve the goals expected from an aborted judicial coup against the government a month before, again by Gülenist prosecutors and police officers, on Dec. 17 and Dec. 25, 2013, under the guise of a graft probe. Our Italian counterparts, who had confronted similar shadowy structures during the Clean Hands Operation, would probably understand the events in Turkey well. Reports by the EU and the U.S. suggest it is still not understood what kind of a monster Turkey has been grappling with since 2013. Maybe there is no desire on their part to understand. No problem. Turkey will always benefit from fair and impartial criticism, but nevertheless, it will definitely get rid of the PKK and the Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ). The country has amassed so much valuable experience in the last three years that it attained enough power to consolidate its democracy even without the help of friends and allies like the U.S. and EU. In other words, Turkey has been undergoing coup-like turbulence created by a complex alliance since the Gezi Park protests, which began as an innocent environmental movement but eventually brought together different dynamics intending to turn it into a civil war. After it was understood that the military had returned to its barracks and would not stage coups anymore, the White Turks, who hate President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to death, made an alliance with Fethullah Gülen, whom they deeply detest, and the PKK. Seeing that it was unlikely to defeat the AK Party in elections, as polls showed the AK Party with 55 percent support and Erdoğan's popular support at around 60 percent, the plan was to topple the government and its leader through street protests and judicial coups.
KURDS, MINORITIES AND THE AK PARTY
It was the mass support from devout Kurds, which made the AK Party the biggest Kurdish party. And that support kept growing along with the reconciliation process because Erdoğan struck a defiant stance against the old establishment that was dominated by the CHP mentality, which is what is responsible for the emergence of the Kurdish issue and the PKK. Erdoğan launched the reconciliation process, of which he said: "I would pursue peace even if it costs me my political career," drawing on wide popular support. Increasing democratization of the state, a buoyant economy benefiting the poor masses, social policies and addressing the grievances of Christian and Jewish minorities bequeathed by the ultra-secularist old establishment all created a momentum that did not serve the purposes of the alliance of secularists, the Gülen Movement and the PKK. For instance, currently there are three Armenian, two Assyrian, one Yazidi and an Arab deputy in Parliament. These people occupy rather important positions. It was Erdoğan's struggle for reform that changed Turkey and made this possible. The evil but shrewd strategy to attack the politically formidable Erdoğan and his party through non-political means came into view first with the Dec. 17 and Dec. 25 judicial coup in 2013 disguised as a graft probe, and then the interception of the MİT trucks. That was a very wise move. It was known that the AK Party's voters would not forgive corruption. The calculation was that if it acted quickly enough by arresting Erdoğan and his family members, they would not find an opportunity to tell voters about the coup. Again, they hoped that the AK Party would split and a technocratic, government-led restoration period would begin during which all the reforms that had been launched since 2002 would be revoked in a few years. These coup plots are currently under review by the courts, and incredible details are coming out. For example, it turns out that the operation had been carried out secretly, withholding information from the prosecutor's office and police department and that the bill of indictment was ready even before opening the evidence bags. The Dec. 17 and Dec. 25 judicial coup, which included fabricated and doctored voice recordings and illegal wiretaps and threw four unrelated files into the same bag, was averted through Erdoğan's extraordinary efforts. Then the raid on the MİT trucks was made. It had two objectives. One was related to foreign policy and the other to domestic politics.
The campaign revolving around the claim that Turkey provides weapons and supplies to DAESH and al-Qaida would put enormous pressure on Turkey and hinder it from becoming a playmaker in Syria. Thus, Turkey's military and political operation capabilities would be reduced, clearing the way for the PKK's Syrian affiliate Democratic Union Party (PYD) to carry out ethnic cleansing on Arabs and Turkmens in Syria and to create a secular PKK statelet. And that statelet would seal Turkey's 911-kilometer southern border with Syria.
The objective that targeted domestic politics was to unleash a wave of pan-Kurdism intended to alienate devout Kurds from the reconciliation process. In accordance with Islamic principles, devout Kurds used to not emphasize nationalism, tending instead to stand for the unity of Muslims. The PKK and HDP's Stalinist and atheist line posed a natural obstacle. The easiest way to remove that strong obstacle was to concoct a Kobani legend for resurrecting pan-Kurdism while claiming that the AK Party supports such brutal groups as DAESH. When these two objectives were realized, the planned political coup in Turkey would be accomplished and both Turkey and northern Syria would be secured. There were simultaneous efforts at the time to force Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani into a corner in Iraqi Kurdistan through the Goran Movement. Both efforts failed to fully achieve their goals, but did leave huge damage behind. And this encouraged the plotters to continue their efforts since an important general election was coming. Meanwhile, Gülenists took hold of Cumhuriyet daily.
Can Dündar, who was appointed with a fait accompli as editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet just a week before the June 7, 2015 general elections, published new video footage of the raid on the MİT trucks. The goal was the same: To give the impression again that Erdoğan supports DAESH and to divert the Kurdish vote to the HDP in the approaching elections. It is claimed that the video footage was given to Dündar by Enis Berberoğlu, former editor-in-chief of the Hürriyet daily and CHP Istanbul deputy. A summary of proceedings against Berberoğlu has been sent by a prosecutor to the Parliament Speaker's Office.
Yes, Turkey has faced in a short span of time enough coup plots, conspiracies and losses to last a European country a whole century, and in the middle of all this perception operations were carried out by the media. Around 400 soldiers and police officers have been killed so far. Civilians waiting at a bus stop were brutally massacred in suicide bombings by the PKK and People's Protection Units (YPG). Meanwhile, dozens of civilians were targeted by DAESH. DAESH rockets hit the southern city of Kilis on a daily basis. Turkish troops killed approximately 400 DAESH militants in the latest counterstrike. The police routinely arrest suspected suicide bombers linked to DAESH, the PKK and the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C). In 2014, DAESH called Erdoğan an "apostate" who deserted Islam and must be killed. Turkey designated DAESH a terrorist organization before the formation of the international coalition against it and was the first country to bomb DAESH positions. Our American and European friends supposedly do not know this. Judging by the European Parliament's progress reports and democracy reports from the U.S., it seems so. But that would be an insult to our friends' intelligence. I do not think so at all. And that will make the U.S. and EU feel ashamed before Turkey in the future. Perhaps we will be able to put our relations on a more objective and fair basis then. For the moment, we confine ourselves to taking note of what is going on.