Assessing the two recent attacks in Foça and Şemdinli, Akşam’s Deniz Ülke Arıboğan said that the ultimate aim of the attacks was not to kill people but to send a message with the killings. She believes the PKK aimed to create rage, desperation and weariness among people so that it can psychologically win its war against the Turkish state, if not technically. Arıboğan underlined three points regarding the attacks. First, the attacks targeted security forces, not civilians, as most PKK attacks do. This means the terrorist organization is taking care not to draw global attention when carrying out acts of terrorism, as terrorist acts normally involve civilians. Arıboğan claims the PKK wants to send the message that “I exist” to the world while trying to psychologically defeat the Turkish state, but, above all, it does not want to draw ire from the world.
Secondly, both attacks were different from all the previous ones because, in Şemdinli, the PKK chose to engage security forces rather than use the hit-and-run tactics it always did before, and in Foça it staged an attack outside the Southeast, where it typically stages almost all of its attacks. Therefore, it can be said that the PKK is sending us the message that “I can attack wherever and however I like.”
Thirdly, the recent attacks were also condemned by Kurds in Turkey and took place not after a development regarding Kurdish rights in Turkey but after developments in Syria and Iran, which makes it clearer that the terrorist organization’s acts and intentions are more about foreign policy than securing the rights of Kurdish people.
Kurtuluş Tayiz from the Taraf daily, on the other hand, wrote about how statements from self-confident politicians in Ankara several months ago implied they had taken control of the PKK and don’t need to sit at a negotiating table with the PKK. Yet, the Şemdinli attack has seemed to shake Ankara’s confidence, he says. So, what has affected and changed Ankara’s position in the past several months? Did the PKK suddenly get more powerful in this period?
The prime minister tends to explain the change over the past several months in line with the developments in the region, linking the PKK attacks to the newly emerged anti-Turkey stance of the Iranian, Syrian and Iraqi regimes. Tayiz says this may be a factor but is not the main reason. Contrary to what has been claimed, the terrorist organization has not become more powerful recently; it is the Kurdish issue that has become more powerful and grown. The fact that Syrian Kurds have seized control of many areas in northern Syria will some day trigger a similar demand from Kurds in Turkey, and this has caused the PKK to pull itself together quickly and to simply try to take advantage of the situation. Ankara fails to understand that getting the PKK under its control and delaying bravely facing the Kurdish issue won’t solve anything; it has to take more serious and solid steps with regards to the Kurdish issue, and only then it can stand firm against the PKK, Tayiz argues.
Sabah’s Mehmet Barlas warned the public and the government not to fall into the trap of the PKK that would link Turkey’s Kurdish issue with terrorism and says that regardless of how the PKK acts, we should make extra effort to maintain our solidarity and unity now.