Geopolitical Research Institute(GRI)/Εταιρεία Γεωπολιτικών Ερευνών(ΕΓΕ)

Πέμπτη, 20 Οκτωβρίου 2011

Future politics in Turkey and the timing of Kurdish attacks

The timing of the attack by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) yesterday that killed at least 24 soldiers in synchronized raids against Turkish military posts in the in Hakkari on the Iraqi border says a lot about the future politics in Turkey and the Middle East.
The Turkish press immediately pointed to the second anniversary of the Habur border entry by eight PKK members who came as part of the government’s Kurdish opening strategy.
The real dimension of the attack and its timing seems to be bigger than that.
The day before the attack all the news in Turkey, like everywhere, was on the swap of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit for a total of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners; 11 of them were brought from Egypt to Turkey as part of the deal.
Apart from high-level suspicions – partly raised by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan yesterday that the PKK is “acting like a subcontractor” for some bigger actors in international politics – one can say that the PKK does not like the attention of public opinion to be diverted from its Kurdish agenda. It can be recalled that the PKK had hit a military unit near Turkey’s Mediterranean base of İskenderun on the night of the Mavi Marmara flotilla tragedy (in which nine Turks were killed by Israeli soldiers) on May 31, 2010.
Another angle can be found in President Abdullah Gül’s visit to the military border units in the same Hakkari province. He went there together with the Chief of the General Staff Gen. Necdet Ozel and released official pictures to the media showing himself in military camouflage jacket for the first time ever. It was a reminder to whom it may concern that Gül is the commander-in-chief, according to the Turkish Constitution. Yesterday, he reacted very strong and promised revenge.
There have been reports in the Turkish and Iraqi Kurdish media that some villages around the Kandil Mountains in Iraq which host the PKK headquarters have been emptied; it may well be a precaution of the Iraqi Kurdish leadership who did not want civilians to get hurt if the Turkish military hit the camps.
But a more important and more relevant scenario about the timing of the PKK attack should focus on the parliamentary work on a new Turkish constitution that was set to start yesterday.
All parties that have a group now in the Turkish Parliament, including the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), which acknowledges it shares the same grassroots with the PKK, had promised their voters a new constitution in order to upgrade the level of democracy in Turkey.
The new constitution is expected to find a solution to the important problems of Turkish democracy like the Kurdish issue and bring more political control over the military.
That is why Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek tied the PKK attack yesterday to the constitutional work. And that may be why Erdoğan said Turkey will not fall into the trap of this “provocation,” while promising to hit back; Özel was already at the border and Turkish troops had already crossed the border into Iraq.
The events of the coming days could affect the political dynamics of the whole neighborhood.
Source : Hurriyet Daily News

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