After PKK attack, calls for political will
to solve Kurdish issue in Turkey
By Alakbar Raufoglu for SES Türkiye
The attack in Daglica should
not be allowed to derail political efforts to
resolve the Kurdish issue.
A Turkish soldier patrols a road near Cukurca in
Hakkari province in the Kurdish region in
southeastern Turkey (northern Kurdistan).
PKK demanded Turkey's recognition of the Kurds'
identity in its constitution and of their language
as a native language along with Turkish in the
country's Kurdish areas,
the party also demanded an end to
ethnic discrimination in Turkish laws and
constitution against Kurds, ranting them full
June 23, 2012
DIYARBAKIR, The Kurdish region of Turkey,
Just as an atmosphere of dialogue and positive
steps to resolve the Kurdish problem had been
gaining momentum in recent weeks, the deadliest PKK
attack of the year has threatened to
derail the process.
Eight Turkish soldiers and at least two dozen
Kurdistan Workers' Party PKK guerrillas
Tuesday (June 19th) in an
attack on a military outpost at
Daglica near the border with Iraq, as large-scale
military operations against the PKK continue in the
The attack prompted claims the PKK is again
sabotaging efforts to create a positive environment
of open dialogue that would pave the way to peace.
President Abdullah Gul hinted the PKK was being used
as a tool by regional actors and said the
organisation was trying to sabotage the state's
Selahattin Demirtas, the head of the Kurdish BDP,
also urged the PKK to "stop all kinds of armed
activity." He said the government should also halt
operations to "give a
a chance." Both the CHP and AKP called on the PKK to
unconditionally lay down its arms.
Following the meeting with CHP leader Kemal
Kilicdaroglu, where the two mulled over the
establishment of an inter-party body to discuss the
Kurdish issue under the roof of parliament, Prime
Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week announced
plans to introduce elective Kurdish lessons in
in another step to address Kurdish rights.
Oktay Vural, deputy chairman of the
ultra-nationalist MHP, whose party has rejected
joining the quest for a political solution to the
conflict, called on the government "to use all means
available to eradicate the PKK terror."
"Today's violence once again shows that no matter
whatever you give them, the terrorists have only one
goal -- to kill as many as they can," Vural told SES
Ahmet Aydin, AKP's parliament group deputy chairman,
questioned the timing of Tuesday's attack, arguing
that "Whenever we want to take some warm steps to
end the terror, the traitors [PKK] don't allow it."
"The terrorists can't change or dictate our policy,"
Aydin told SES Türkiye. "We will continue all of our
efforts at reform while fighting against the
PKK analyst Paul Kubicek, a political science
professor Oakland University in Michigan, said it
should be obvious by now that there are real splits
among the Kurds, with some intent on continuing with
violence and others more committed to a political
"Clearly, there is a real need to engage the Kurds
and find a settlement. But I suspect that the PKK
will continue with its attacks to undermine
prospects for such success," he told SES Türkiye.
Francesco Milan, who researches the
counter-insurgency campaign against the PKK at
King's College in London, said some elements in the
PKK want dialogue with Turkish authorities.
"Clearly there is a division within the Kurdish
community. However, it would be wrong to assume that
PKK would declare a ceasefire just because BDP asked
it to do so; that is not the way in which PKK/BDP
relations work," he told SES Türkiye.
Tuesday's attack brings the death toll to 526 for
the past 12 months -- 162 members of the security
forces, 288 PKK insurgents and 76 civilians --
according to an informal tally kept by the
International Crisis Group.
"This worsening casualty count is the result of
increasing escalations over the past year, and is a
particular blow as in recent weeks both sides showed
signs of goodwill to return to the positive
atmosphere of the 'Democratic Opening' of 2009,"
Hugh Pope, Turkey and Cyprus director of the
International Crisis Group, told SES Türkiye.
"As alienation deepens in both Kurdish and Turkish
communities, the attack underlines just how much
political courage both sides will have to summon up
to head off an even worse degradation of the
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