Certainly, this is not something that can be solved easily. But it is a luxury for the state to become completely paralyzed and unable to act, let alone losing calm for even a second. Because of the current vacuum, I think that the PKK has been regaining the psychological supremacy it has over the state, which it had lost after the Silvan attack -- after which, it had increasingly started targeting civilians, and thanks to the effective operations of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). It has been regaining the psychological advantage with the bombing of 34 citizens in Uludere by our own jets as a result of an incomprehensible mistake. Although more than eight months have passed since the incident, there is still no satisfactory investigation or an apology, which would have been worthy of a civilized state.
Is it even necessary to point out that all these are damaging the emotional ties of Kurdish citizens to the Turkish state and giving the PKK more prestige and power? What is more, shortly after Uludere, the PKK started staging attacks in big cities such as Gaziantep and targeting military outposts in Western cities, such as Foça. Then “strange” things started happening along the Şemdinli-Çukurca route. Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Chairman Selahattin Demirtaş claimed that a 400-square-kilometer area in this region was effectively under PKK control. Indeed, the PKK had recently replaced its hit-and-run style attacks with hit-and-stay type of attacks in this region, particularly around the Goman mountains, keeping 700 of its militants here at all times. They constantly attacked targets in Şemdinli, such as the house of the district governor, and set up roadblocks at least twice a day. Recently, a group of BDP representatives in the region were stopped by a PKK band “patrolling” the area. Images of the militants and BDP members embracing each other circulated in the press. And this happened only days after CHP deputy Hüseyin Aygün was first kidnapped, later “questioned” and then released by the PKK in Tunceli.
Increasingly, the PKK is acting like a state and trying to create this appearance.
It needs to be noted that all of these are very strange and recent developments. Turkey, with its incorrect and inadequate Kurdish initiative policy, breathed new life into the PKK, and at the same time, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad allowed Syrian land near the border across from Şendinli to come under the control of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the PKK’s Syrian arm, turning the PKK reality from a national issue into a Middle Eastern one. The PKK, as such, is not as alone as it was before. With the Syrian crisis, the PKK that we thought had lost all the support it once had, once again became a card that the Baath Party in Syria, Iraq and Iran could play against Turkey.
Thus, the PKK’s problem, unfortunately, has changed features since 2009 or 2010. Perhaps, then too it was not a matter as simple as the government had perceived it to be. But it should not be forgotten that a great tutelage commission that hid behind the PKK tried their best to agitate this matter. The government was overwhelmed by this. And presently, the state does not have a comprehensive and refined PKK strategy, and the
PKK is aware of this -- and so too are Assad and Iran…
What needs to be done? You must truly make the PKK a security issue. Contrary to what should have taken place in Turkey, our Kurdish citizens’ rights and demands were always seen as a security (separatist) issue. The PKK, however, was allowed to survive. Actually, this is the basis of the Kurdish problem. And now the Kurdish problem must be thought of as being separate from the PKK, and all reforms and judicial requests must be met. Only when this happens will the PKK be in a truly questionable state. Unless the PKK is sentenced in people’s minds, unless the “approval” of the organization that lies at the heart of sending militants to the mountains, detaining people by force is broken, it will be very difficult for the organization to come to an end. Because unless this happens, every PKK member who dies will take jabs at the social make up of this country. The greatest strength of the organization is not the soldiers or civilians whom it kills, but the Kurdish youths that it kills.
Your struggle with the PKK must be more intricate and free from any error. Currently, there is a weakness in Şemdinli that has never existed in the history of the war against the PKK. What is the reason for this? I am not saying this hoping for a greater war to erupt. What I am saying is that as long as the rights of Kurdish citizens are granted to them, and Turkey continues to take steps toward further democratization such as the new constitution, the PKK will not stop -- in fact, it will only increase its violence. The PKK might be doing so now, but in response we see neither any movement towards reforms as well as weakness in the military.
It is high time for the problem to be re-defined, it may in fact be too late.