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June 21, 2012, Thursday

Is there a PKK within the PKK?

The terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) attack on Tuesday, which killed eight soldiers, has topped the public agenda, raising difficult questions about how the government should respond to the attack, as well as the timing of the strike, following on the heels of some positive developments regarding the Kurdish question.

Elif Çakır from the Star daily analyzes the situation this way: “When we look at the period between 1993 and 2012, we see that nothing has changed. In 1993, just after [PKK leader Abdullah] Öcalan gave some very significant and unusual messages about peace, 33 soldiers, who were just about to complete their military duties, were killed by the PKK. Öcalan then said the attack was carried out by a marginal group that is beyond his control. And in a recent interview [senior PKK leader Murat] Karayılan spoke about the Silvan attack by terrorists last year that claimed 13 soldiers’ lives, saying, ‘Local units carried out the attack and I couldn’t control it’.” Çakır adds that these arguments of Karayılan and Öcalan suggest either a division within the PKK -- where Karayılan and Öcalan favor peace, which the columnist considers unlikely, and “some local units” oppose it -- or this is just a mask both leaders wear in order to pursue a larger plan.

Akşam’s Nagehan Alçı is sure that there is a divergence of opinion within the PKK and that the Dağlıca attack proves it. According to Alçı, while a PKK terrorist group in Syria wants to carry on the war, depending on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s continuing power, Karayılan and Öcalan want peace.

Another columnist for Star, Fehmi Koru, likens the public to guinea pigs that react in the same way every time the same type of incident occurs. First we grow hopeful about the prospect of achieving peace through democratic means, and then, when a bloody attack takes place, we tend to fall back on old views that the only way to respond to violence is with more violence. Koru argues that this routine has been going on since the 1990s and it never fails. Albert Einstein described insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results; this is exactly the case with the PKK, Koru says, suggesting that this time we should not give them the expected response of a retaliatory strike.

Sedat Laçiner states that whether there is a power struggle within the PKK or not, the fact that the PKK does not condemn the attack renders it guilty and responsible for the killings.

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