It’s getting out of hand again in Turkey’s south-east: this weekend a total of 12 soldiers died. That’s more than fifty soldiers killed since the end of April. Over the last four months, 130 PKK fighters have been killed – according to the Turkish army, so let’s call that ‘unconfirmed’.
Opposition leaders try to take advantage of the anger among Turks when soldiers are killed. CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu calls for early elections, as does MHP leader Bahçeli, who also wants the state of emergency re-introduced in the region. They both blame the AKP government for the flaring up of the violence. Basically what they are saying is: ‘See, this is where your Kurdish initiative has lead to!’
The MHP in particular thinks that more violence will be the solution. And that makes me really angry, since that recipe has been tried for 30 years now, with no positive result whatsoever. Don’t forget: Turkey has the second biggest army in NATO, and they weren’t able to deal with a group of terrorists/rebels/freedom fighters/guerrillas (pick the one that suits your view) in all those years.
The AKP tried to deal with the situation by introducing the ‘Kurdish initiative’, an attempt to give Kurds more democratic rights so the support for PKK would decrease and in the end peace could be reached. The opposition has never supported the Kurdish initiative; they don’t even want to think about any other approach than violence. And now the AKP is the culprit?
On the other hand, the Kurdish initiative also didn’t have a chance because it was poorly designed. In short: a whole lot of vague words, but hardly any action. It was mainly an AKP initiative, they forgot to get support early on from other political parties or from NGO’s. So what is needed, in my humble opinion, is not more violence or a state of emergency, but a brand new and, this time, strong Kurdish initiative.
Who’s going to come up with it? The AKP? Kılıçdaroğlu? For him it would be a great opportunity to start giving the CHP its social-democrat face back. But then, would anything at all lead to the PKK laying down its weapons, and giving up the power they have in the region, any time soon? There’s only one way to find out.