Sezin Öney on the Haberdar news site notes that President Erdoğan on March 11 stated that “We are going to build a new Southeast.” It seems that the state is executing a specific project. Since last summer, a “military-civilian coalition” or what should perhaps more accurately be called a “comradeship-in-arms” has been established at the highest echelons of the state. The different elements of this coalition or comradeship may not see eye to eye on every issue, but there seems to be an agreement between them regarding the execution of a specific project aiming at the reconfiguration of the Southeast. Why was the need felt to send in all the elements of the security forces, deploying excessive violence, into the city centers? The area is being “cleaned,” to use military terminology. According to the estimates of the Union of the Municipalities of the Southeast, close to two hundred thousand people have migrated – whether temporarily or permanently -- from the urban areas that are subjected to military operations. Meanwhile, the Human Rights Association suggests that the internal migration could possibly number around three hundred to four hundred thousand people. The military operations that have led to this refugee flow seem to be the expression of the “allergy” of the state to Kurdish developments: first the “democratic autonomy” that was declared in Rojava and subsequently the fact that HDP crossed the threshold to parliament in the June 7, 2015 general election. It seems that “raison d’état” calls for a “cordon sanitaire” in order to contain what the state fears is a “contagion” of Kurdish identity and political aspirations. The policy of “erase and rebuild” seems to be a way of driving away the Kurdish population from the region, to simply discourage it from continuing to live there; is some kind of deportation also part and parcel of the state policy? Is the state maybe also entertaining a plan to create a different demographic structure in the region?
Soli Özel in Habertürk observes that the reaction of the Turkish public to the March 13 terror attack in Ankara has been different, that unlike after previous attacks, panic has spread. Larger society didn’t care much after the first Ankara attack (on October 10, 2015) because those who were killed were Kurds and leftists. Similarly, the second Ankara attack (on February 17, 2016) didn’t either lead to any panic in society because it was understood to be an attack mostly against the state. The January 12 attack in Sultanahmet (in Istanbul) was not either taken too seriously as the victims were “foreigners,” while people in the central, northern and western parts of the country view the physical and human destruction wrought by the ongoing war in the cities in the southeast as legitimate punishment of an “ungrateful” population. In none of these instances, was there any direct impact on the “normal” individuals of society. Now, with the latest Ankara massacre, the daily lives and routines of ordinary citizens were targeted, and that has made larger society angry. Its first reflex is going to be to call for more violence from the state, as if the state hadn’t already amply demonstrated its capability to be violent.
Ali Bayramoğlu in Yeni Şafak writes that the AKP congress showed that Erdoğan is imposing a model of partisan presidency. Taha Akyol in Hürriyet writes that the new AKP is much more than ever before under the control of Erdoğan and he asks what’s left of the authority of the prime minister. Abdülkadir Selvi in Yeni Şafak implores the AKP to preserve its unity, which he fears is gravely threatened unless the party embraces the old guard that has been purged. Etyen Mahçupyan in Akşam writes that the best way of derailing AKP’s reformism is to end the solution process and he asks what will be the choice of the AKP – to represent old Turkish statism and nationalism or reformism. Mümtazer Türköne in Zaman writes that Erdoğan and PKK are both determined to finish off HDP, and he predicts that HDP is going to boycott the upcoming election to parliament, but thinks that in the end both palace and PKK are going to be the losers.
Yavuz Baydar in Bugün writes that the assaults against media are part of the strategy of the AKP to ensure that the November 1 election yields a three-party parliament, without the HDP, with the AKP’s majority restored. Ömer Laçiner in Birikim warns that the election campaign threatens to be Turkey’s historically most violent one. Korkut Boratav on the sendika.org site writes that there is no reason to expect that finance capital is going to precipitate the fall of AKP from power by deserting Turkey. Ertuğrul Özkök in Hürrriyet observes that the new Chief of the General Staff Hulusi Akar made very unusual, ethnic references, to a supposed Turkish identity of the state of Turkey, in his Victory Day speech. Ali Bulaç in Zaman writes that Turkey’s participation in the Western war against IS amounts to waging war against Muslims, that this has no Islamic legitimacy, besides being politically and militarily wrong.
Etyen Mahçupyan in Akşam writes that the cease-fire ended because PKK started to seek independence in Rojawa, and because Turkey did not want to have a PKK state at its border. “PKK has shot itself in the foot,” he writes. Metin Münir on the t24 news site finds it incredible that PKK chose to respond to Erdoğan’s restart of the war in what he describes as the most stupid way possible, by returning to terrorism. Orhan Bursalı in Cumhuriyet writes that PKK is laying the ground for secession from Turkey. Kemal Öztürk in Yeni Şafak warns the AKP that the party is losing the public relation battle to PKK among the Kurds, and that yet another electoral disaster is looming. Şahin Alpay in Zaman writes that even though Erdoğan is the chief responsible for why calm and stability continue to elude Turkey, the fundamental reasons for this are inscribed in the genetic code of the republic.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.