With nearly three weeks left until the critical June 12 parliamentary elections, Turkey is once again on tenterhooks in the face of rising tension in the country. The terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has stepped up its acts of terror and violence.
Terrorists recently killed three police officers and wounded others in two separate attacks. There are also ongoing protests sponsored by the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in the Southeast, including clashes between the police and demonstrators who were protesting the recent killing of PKK members by Turkish security forces.
According to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, violent attacks are part of the plans of Ergenekon -- a suspected criminal network charged with plotting to overthrow the government -- and the terrorist PKK to increase tension in Turkey ahead of the June polls. “Scenarios drafted in Silivri and Kandil are being put into action by dark powers. They are using young people and children as pawns. But we will not take a steps back. We will not give in to plans [to spread] chaos and tension,” he said during a recent election rally on Wednesday as he referred to Silivri Prison, where Ergenekon suspects are jailed, and the PKK bases in the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq.
Vatan daily columnist and former minister Hasan Celal Güzel thinks the recent tension is aimed at weakening support for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in the elections. “The anti-AK Party efforts of the opposition are acceptable. However, the incidents in the Southeast in particular signal a political plot rather than an ordinarily tense pre-election atmosphere,” he says. Noting that it is obvious that the AK Party is confronting a political plot, he says the aim of the plot is to decrease the AK Party’s votes in the elections to pave the way for a new coalition government and even to hand over the control of the country to anti-democratic forces. “It is obvious that one side of the plot is based in Kandil and even İmralı [where PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan is jailed]. The other side of the plot, Silivri, is also as important as the Kandil side. The failures of the AK Party, in particular Erdoğan, are particular concerns of Ergenekon’s pro-coup circles, which are hoping to take revenge on Erdoğan,” he notes.
Star’s Mustafa Karaalioğlu says the Ergenekon-PKK axis is behind “Turkey’s dark past 30 years.” “Today, the PKK has been caught unprepared as Turkey uncovered the Ergenekon structure, one side of the axis. The structure that the PKK knew well, and with whom it was used to working, disappeared all of a sudden. The state that it used to see has also changed, as the Kurdish identity is no longer denied, Kurdish is no longer banned. Let’s be honest. If there were 10 problems with regard to the Kurdish issue 10 years ago, seven or eight of them have been solved today,” the columnist says. According to Karaalioğlu, at this very critical point, the concern over “whether the Kurdish issue is being solved,” emerged within the PKK and the BDP since if the issue were solved, the influence of the PKK on Kurdish society would lessen. “There is no option other than violence to block this process [to find a solution]. The BDP is now trying to further exacerbate this tension ahead of elections,” he adds.
Sabah’s Mahmut Övür states that plans over the Kurdish issue are on the rise ahead of elections, since the developments on the Kurdish issue can influence the course of the elections. “That’s why civilian and military actors of the old Turkey are making all their plans according to this issue. The PKK and some sub-PKK groups are also part of this plot,” he says.