In other words, the PKK has continued its fight with security forces in the southeastern Şemdinli district since late July, instead of leaving the area once it had staged the recent attack there. The Şemdinli fight is reported to have ended yesterday as the PKK attacked three poorly built military outposts in simultaneous attacks last week near Hakkari province. Both areas where the fierce fight between Turkish security forces and the PKK took place are close to the Iranian and Iraqi borders.
The PKK is based in the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq and uses this region as a springboard to infiltrate Turkey for attacks against security forces. The fact that Syrian Kurdish groups affiliated with the PKK have been declaring their presence in Syria in the regions bordering Turkey since Bashar al-Assad's regime lost control in those areas, creating a power vacuum, has changed the equation in the PKK's tactics of fighting Turkey. Its sister group's consolidation of power in northern Syria might have encouraged the PKK to begin the installation of its own strategy for a solution in the Kurdish-dominated Southeast, which is said to be based on establishing a Kurdish state parallel to the Turkish state. Though moderate Kurds seek Kurdish autonomy in the region, hardliners supported by the PKK do not hide their ultimate goal of establishing a Kurdish state in the Southeast.
The Turkish state will resort to every method to prevent hard-line Turkish Kurds from establishing their own state. But the Turkish state has not even reached a level of maturity to recognize even Kurds' simple demands such as the decentralization of power so that they can have a say in the administration of their regions.
A decentralization law that stipulated that all Turks and Kurds have a say in the administration of their regions was vetoed by former President Ahmet Necdet Sezer in 2006 when he was influenced by deep-state elements who are of the opinion that Turkey will disintegrate if Kurds are allowed to have a say in the administration of their region. However, in reality, the PKK has already been collecting taxes and trying Kurds in their own courts while maintaining its own law and order teams. These activities are being carried out through the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the urban wing of the PKK. Six thousand or more members of the KCK have already been put in jail as part of ongoing operations against this group.
But Turks living in parts of Turkey other than the Southeast are not actually aware of the real strength of the PKK in the Southeast and are not aware of what exactly has been happening in that region devastated by an almost 30-year fight with the PKK.
Media, for its part, has been ineffective in running stories that reflect the real situation in the Southeast, which is that a war has torn apart the region, thousands of villagers have been displaced, thousands of men both from PKK and the Turkish security forces have died, the economy has come to a standstill and the PKK has already set up its own system of administering the region.
Who has been benefitting from and who has been responsible for the prolongation of this war? The answer is simple: mostly those ineffective politicians who could not put their military under full civilian control as well as the military bureaucracy which maintains the status quo through the prolongation of the war.
The current government's efforts to find a peaceful solution to the problem have been sabotaged by deep-state elements through many means. The killing of 34 Turkish Kurds in Uludere in the Southeast in late December of last year by the Turkish military after, it said, officials had mistaken them for PKK members, has been one of the things that have sabotaged government efforts to solve the Kurdish question through non-military means. Government, meanwhile, has allowed itself to be trapped by deep state elements in the Uludere incident and failed even to apologize to the families who lost their loved ones.
As I was listening to Kemal Burkay, a 75-year-old Kurdish politician and a writer who returned home from Sweden last year where he lived in exile for 31 years, I noticed that he was confirming my thoughts about close links between the Turkish deep state and the PKK, who are acting together to sabotage Turkish efforts to end the Kurdish conflict.
In an interview with Habertürk TV on Tuesday, Aug. 7, Burkay pointed to the relationship between the Turkish deep state and the PKK. According to Burkay, the PKK became active again in the years 2003 and 2004, the years that a junta within the military was making coup plans to unseat the government. These alleged junta members, now in jail, are currently being tried on charges of making coup plans to overthrow the government.
He also urged the PKK to lay down its arms though he said the ideal option would be for both the PKK and the Turkish state to lay down their arms to allow the political solutions to be found.
Though the majority of its members are in jail, the Turkish deep state reflex is still at work taking the government hostage, too. This signals a continuation of war for the foreseeable future.