Kemal Öztürk in Yeni Şafak warns that the AKP is losing the public relation battle. The PKK/KCK/HDP coalition and the municipalities, associations, foundations, newspapers, radios and internet sites that it controls in the southeast have started a massive campaign, blaming all the deaths on the president and the AKP. This campaign is having a devastating effect on public opinion. Just as happened before the election, the public is turning against the AKP and the government. We also need to face the bitter truth: the discourse of the PKK is receiving much more attention in international media than the arguments of the government. I did not expect that the operations that are being undertaken to secure law and order in the cities would have a negative impact on the Kurdish people. But the PKK’s communication tactics and sustained efforts could undermine this expectation. The AKP needs to assure the people that the fight against terrorism is one thing and the solution process is something different. If the AKP fails to explain why it is fighting terror, what it is doing for the solution process, what it plans to do for the Kurdish people, it risks yet another election disaster.
By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 8, no. 15 of the Turkey Analyst)
In recent weeks, Turkey has been wracked by an escalation in Kurdish-related violence. Not only could the upsurge have been prevented but there are fears that the worst may yet be to come. The fear is that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan may order an even harsher crackdown over the weeks ahead and that, with its rural units depleted by deployments to Iraq and Syria, the PKK may increasingly respond by staging attacks, including more suicide car bombings, in the cities.
By Aliza Marcus (vol. 8, no. 12 of the Turkey Analyst)
Kurdish voters abandoned the ruling AKP in Turkey's national elections, propelling the Kurdish HDP into parliament and giving Kurdish nationalist demands a new legitimacy. Earlier, critics could argue the PKK did not really represent the majority of Kurds in Turkey, but that argument is getting weaker by the day. The HDP's win can be ascribed, in large part, to a boost in backing for the PKK. The question is whether the parties and people who want more rights and freedoms will realize that Kurdish rights, autonomy and likely freedom for Abdullah Öcalan must be part of this to truly make Turkey into a liberal place.
İbrahim Karagül, the editor in chief of Yeni Şafak, writes that AKP’s enemies in the West, the Fethullah Gülen fraternity, big business in Turkey and the “Gezi saboteurs” have formed an alliance to overthrow the Turkish government by starting an Alevi uprising. He writes that the terrorist group DHKP-C has been charged with the function as the armed wing of this alleged coalition and that the killing of a prosecutor in Istanbul last week was the first act in a scheme to start a sectarian violence. Mümtazer Türköne in Zaman writes that terrorism is going to benefit the AKP government and he asks “What acts of terrorism are you planning during the run-up to the elections?” He writes, “The martyrdom of the prosecutor was a cause for great satisfaction among the ruling circles.” Hakan Aksay on the t24 news site notes with alarm that Selahattin Demirtaş, the co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish HDP in a speech recently evoked the risk that he might be killed during the election campaign. Orhan Bursalı in Cumhuriyet argues that the Kurds are going to consent to the introduction of presidential system that Erdoğan covets, in return for recognition of their identity and autonomy, but that AKP-PKK are never going to be able to impose their constitution on a majority that resists it.
By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 8, no. 6 of the Turkey Analyst)
On March 20, 2015, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan publicly criticized the announcement by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that it was planning to establish a monitoring committee to oversee discussions about reforms on the Kurdish issue. On March 21, 2015, Government Spokesperson Bülent Arınç bluntly told Erdoğan not to interfere in the running of the government. Arınç repeated his admonition the following day. It was the first time that a leading member of the AKP had issued such an outspoken public challenge to Erdoğan’s authority.
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.