Fatih Yaşlı in Birgün writes that at first glance, the terror attack in Ankara on March 13 would appear to have been “wrong and a mistake” from the view point of PKK, which has also been pointed out by leftist circles that are close to the Kurdish movement. These make the point that the massacre in Ankara circumscribes the political room of maneuver of the leftist-democrat forces in the west of the country and that it has undermined the position of those who call for a democratic and peaceful resolution of the Kurdish problem. What this criticism overlooks is the fact that the dynamics of war has changed since the state abandoned the “solution process”, and that the PKK – in response to the state violence that has been escalating since then – no longer gives priority to forcing a solution with “democratic” methods. Instead, PKK is spreading the war in the Kurdish areas to the rest of the country. As war has become the way of conducting politics, it leads to new alignments: MHP edges closer to the government, while CHP’s statist reflexes are triggered and the party’s discourse becomes similar to that of the governing party. And we know who’s going to benefit from that. Unfortunately, we can expect that the worst is yet to come, lest the two sides are bluffing, which they don’t seem to be doing. When the “spring war” intensifies, attacks like these are going to become routine, and with growing polarization in society, there will follow an increased risk that civilians are going to take on each other directly.
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.
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.