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October 23, 2011, Sunday

Why is the PKK attacking?

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) attack took place at a time when there was hope for an end to violence.

For this reason, it was surprising, and its destruction was particularly huge. It is also apparent that the goal of the PKK is to create a broad shockwave. Under the influence of this shockwave, various speculations have been set forth in recent times. But of course, it is important what the PKK had in mind as the attacker. In its publications, the PKK refers to two reasons: first, it is diplomatically surrounded; second, its own support base -- in other words, the Kurds -- fell into a state of despair. The PKK says that it is suffering from a diplomatic and social siege and that it held this attack to lift that siege and heighten the morale of its support base. What do these explanations mean?

The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government has surrounded the PKK through diplomatic, political and social moves. The PKK, by its own mistakes, has moved into this siege. The war it started in Silvan on July 14 eradicated its most important capital -- massive support. The attacks targeting civilians wounded the Kurdish conscience. No reasonable explanation was made in respect to the goal of the ongoing war. Mao, the founder of present China, compares the rural guerilla to a fish. What the fish needs for survival is water; in other words, for the PKK – it needs people. Losing public support means final defeat for the PKK.

Lack of a public reaction to the KCK arrests and the rise of protests against the organization over the ongoing war prove that it is over. Kurdish youth raise their voices against the PKK’s bloody attacks. The government attacked the struggle with the PKK with an integrated strategy. Particularly, the diplomatic leg was strengthened. Turkey is not the Turkey of the 1990s. We are living under the roof of a state that promises greater wealth for its people and does its job perfectly abroad. When the PKK started the war, no unidentified murders were committed; the villages were not evacuated; the state did not hurt its citizens. Quite the contrary, the government put strong emphasis upon keeping the standard of remaining within the boundaries of law and democracy. The siege surrounding the PKK has become even more influential because of the soft power impact. The PKK, in response, carried out this attack to remove the siege. Did this attack fulfill the goal? Society will answer this question. More accurately, it will show whether it served the goal through its calm stance.

The PKK is busy proving that it cannot be eliminated by military means. Because military servicemen are used to relying on military terms, we also become familiar with this jargon. The PKK attacks are not war in technical terms. Hiding among the public, hitting by reliance on the support of the public and using guns to target civilians should not be viewed as usual warfare. A group of 150 militants does not cross the border and attack a military unit. The weaponry and the munitions are placed at the site well before the attack. They do this as if they are regular people. The true success in such attacks is measured by not harming the civilian population, while targeting the militants hiding among these people. The government has done this in the last three months. Therefore, the true winner of this war is not the PKK. Terror is staged to intimidate the people and to win. Did the PKK win the hearts of the people through the last Çukurca attack?

The PKK has won the support of the people as reflected in the rising votes for the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) through guerilla tactics. The PKK held attacks; the militants hid within the public. The security forces treated the regular people like criminals in order to find the PKK members. The reaction by the people to this treatment has over time turned into mass support.

This attack was held to regain public support; to win the people again by staging a show of power. This is an impossible outcome. It is true that based on the diplomatic, political and social outlook that the PKK is not going after any gains or success; but it is rather concerned about its own survival.

Previous articles of the columnist