Erdoğan’s Anti-Kurdish Campaign


Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

The Islamist AK party (AKP) led by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan came to power following the 2002 election in the then secular military dictatorship of Turkey and is together with the Islamist Millî Görüş movement part of the Turkish branch of the worldwide Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s largest Islamist organization.

Successful economic policies long kept the AKP in power, however creeping pervasive regime-sponsored Islamization has radically altered the face of Turkish society despite the existence of the shadowy Turkish military intelligence agency that is popularly known as the Deep State (Turkish Derin devlet) which has crucially prevented the Islamist Erdoğan from introducing sharia law as state law or conquering others in the region beyond Turkey’s own international borders.The June 2015 parliamentary election was a crushing defeat for Erdoğan as the AKP after 13 years in power lost its majority in the Turkish parliament in gaining a mere 41% of the vote. After the election, no opposition party seemed genuinely interested in joining an AKP government as joining a government with the AKP would probably be politically suicidal for any of the three main opposition parties as it would almost certainly be severely punished by voters in the next election which is especially problematic considering the vulnerability posed by Turkey’s 10% electoral threshold as the MHP and HDP gained 16% and 13% respectively of the vote in the June 2015 parliamentary election. In parallel with – yet in complete contrast to the AKPs radicalizing Islamization policies – Turkey’s three secularist opposition parties have undergone profound processes of de-radicalization that are still not yet fully completed. Pure political logic therefore dictates the formation of a parliamentary majority government comprised of the three large opposition parties represented in parliament; namely the post-Kemalist CHP, the post-Fascist MHP and the post-Communist HDP.

However, this is in some ways difficult a task considering the strongly Anti-Kurdish sentiments within the MHP. While outwardly claiming to seek war with the Kurds; keeping the pro-Kurdish HDP within a tripartite secularist government would be very comfortable indeed for the MHP considering that the land would be peaceful and the pro-Kurdish HDP would as part of such a coalition government prioritize democratization rather than specifically Kurdish issues in the coming years until the next parliamentary election. As the MHP gained 16% of the votes in the June 2015 election and 13% in the preceding 2011 parliamentary election, the MHP is thus very far from being a dominant political party in Turkish politics and the MHP therefore simply needs the democratic system in order to exercise political influence. None of the three opposition parties so far seems to have any real interest in joining an AKP-dominated government or having a snap election that would either more or less produce the same electoral result as in June or else serve to restore the AKP’s prior majority in the Turkish parliament.

Erdoğan’s unprovoked aerial war against the PKK inside Iraqi Kurdistan (Bashur) and his persecution of Kurds in Turkey and Turkish Kurdistan (Bakur) are thus a purely political maneuver. Erdoğan of course wants to punish the PKK for not advising its civilian affiliate HDP to join an AKP government while luring the nominally militarist MHP to lend a hand to the formation of an AKP-MHP government through unprovoked acts of war against the PKK in Iraqi Kurdistan while basically intimidating the CHP to support the formation of an AKP-CHP government by appealing to its basic sense of patriotic responsibility and indeed desire for peace.

Erdoğan’s sudden violent political campaign against the Kurds therefore serves one purpose and one purpose only and that is trying to have the next government formed by the AKP’s Ahmet Davutoğlu as opposed to by the CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. Will this political campaign of violence lead to one of the three opposition parties joining an AKP-dominated government? Will there be a CHP-led government or will there rather be a snap election? The AKP regime’s major political violence is also geared at making it much more internally difficult for the MHP to ultimately support a tripartite CHP-MHP-HDP majority government and even causing the MHP to split into two different factions – one of which would then presumably agree to participate in a majority coalition government led by the AKP.

What more destabilization and terrorism is Erdoğan then planning? It could be a lot more, especially with regard to terrorism in Turkey and Bakur by Erdoğan’s Jihadist allies such as Daesh and the Nusra Front, i.e. Syrian al Qaida. Erdoğan usually promotes religious polarization between Alevis, Bektashis, Jews and seculars on the one hand and believing Muslims on the other, yet now however he is returning to promotion of ethnic polarization akin to the Kemalist era for the sole reason of enabling the AKP to form the next government in Ankara.

Turkey’s shadowy military intelligence establishment known as the Deep State (Turkish Derin devlet) which is committed to safeguarding the democratic structures of the secularist constitutional order surely knows the AKP better than any foreign intelligence service. Erdogan is now however sending the quite intimidating message that he will try to ignite a civil war unless his Islamist party is allowed to remain in power despite losing the June 2015 election. Turkey’s Deep State is understandably quite reluctant to get involved in politics aside from protecting the fundamental democratic structures of the state and safeguarding the alliance with the West despite the absence of liberal democracy in Turkey and Bakur. However, Erdoğan’s Anti-Kurdish political campaign of violence could get out of hand and lead to some degree or another of civil war, including in the worst-case scenario as expressed in attempted genocide against Alevis and Bektashis. Therefore Erdoğan needs to be made to persuasively understand by those with the power to do so in Ankara that he indeed will not be permitted to give rise to a civil war in Turkey and Bakur.

Destabilization in Turkey and Bakur would likely draw in Iran which has thus far due to the considerable power of deterrence of Turkey’s armed forces refrained from destabilizing Turkey. Now however the threat comes from within the no longer elected Islamist regime in Ankara. Erdoğan’s attempts at seriously destabilizing Turkey and Bakur would clearly serve to benefit the Iranian regime and so the House of Saud would be particularly well advised to use any indirect influence of theirs over Erdoğan the Pyromaniac through clerical Wahhabi intelligence agencies that would make Erdoğan understand that he simply will not be permitted to continue with his desperate and increasingly dangerous destabilization campaign.

However, a party which behaves as the AKP does for the purpose of negotiating a coalition government – really has no place whatsoever in Turkey’s government and although surely internally very difficult for the MHP, a tripartite secularist majority government of the CHP, the MHP and the HDP is definitely the best option for both Turkey and Kurdistan and presumably the least bad option from a purely rational perspective of the substantially de-radicalized MHP leadership. Yes all Kurdish militias should be joined into one unified military force of Kurdistan and this can only be done by creating one internationally recognized independent Kurdish state in Bashur, Rojava and Rojhelat, namely the Iraqi, Syrian and Iranian sections of Kurdistan and this in turn can only be achieved through serious liberalization and democratization. Indeed, successful democratization and liberalization are the proper path for attaining the freedom of Bakur as well. The processes of de-radicalization in the CHP, MHP and HDP need to be continued and indeed completed until they are all proper liberal-democratic political parties indeed.

The PKK movement has made a strategic decision in adopting its democratization strategy and this certainly remains its direction of choice. The PKK will however continue to respond to Erdoğan’s aggression and mass persecution against the Kurdish people while remaining fully ready to return to the preferred path of democracy and peace in Turkey and Bakur. Erdoğan’s extensive attempts in the style of a Turkish military coup d’état to have his Islamist party stay in power by means of starting an unprovoked war are however entirely illegitimate. Responsible introduction of liberal democracy is the proper path for both Turkey and Kurdistan and so Erdoğan’s extremely violent attempts at persuading the opposition parties to let his Islamist party stay in power are entirely illegitimate indeed. While it is true that the pro-Kurdish HDP could immediately stop the aggression against the Kurdish people by becoming a temporary accessory to Erdoğan’s dictatorship, the HDP has very wisely refrained from doing so. Erdoğan the dictator’s violent attempts to subvert de-radicalization, democratization and liberalization so as to impede the establishment of a secularist majority government are completely democratically illegitimate and wholly unacceptable indeed. The pyromaniac needs to be persuasively told in no uncertain terms to return to the palace and stay there without further impeding the democratic process.