The PKK millstone round the Kurds’ neck

Turkey is in danger of returning to the unpredictability and instability of the 1990s because two key players have shown their willingness to light the fuse of the powder keg called the Kurdish question.
On the one hand we have Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the ruling party, security apparatus and media outlets he controls. It has been clear for some time now that in Erdoğan's analysis the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) is the main obstacle to be removed in order to "repair" the outcome of the June 7 election that made it impossible for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to rule the country singlehandedly. Only if the HDP does not manage to pass the electoral threshold again, Erdoğan can be sure he will be able to continue with his unconstitutional interpretation of the presidency. That is why we are seeing an anti-HDP campaign using both legal and illegal means to finish off the party: hate speech, mob attacks, indictments. At the same time, the Turkish state has reacted to the violent provocations of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) with unverifiable security zones and curfews, hoping to incriminate the HDP.
Amidst all this chaos it was heartening to see that, until recently, many Turks -- including potential AKP voters -- saw what Erdoğan's game was. In opinion polls, the AKP only gained a few votes and the HDP managed to preserve its parliamentary presence. I am afraid, however, that with each passing day of policemen and soldiers being killed and HDP representatives and premises coming under attack, these rational calculations will be replaced by emotional reactions: anger about the killings and doubts about the HDP. In such a rapidly deteriorating climate, it is only a matter of time before new polls show the AKP regaining strength and the HDP moving close to, or even below, the 10 percent mark.
My biggest frustration about this slow turning of the tide in favor of Erdoğan and the AKP is that most damage to the HDP is done by the PKK. Of course, Erdoğan and his men do everything in their power to hurt the HDP's electoral prospects. But they will only be successful when and if the PKK continues with its terrorist campaign and its foolish policy of creating so-called autonomous areas in the Southeast.
Let there be no misunderstanding: The current PKK offensive is not a tactical mistake or an overreaction that unfortunately works out badly for the HDP. What we are witnessing is a deliberate attempt by the hard-liners within the Kurdish nationalist movement to silence and render harmless the Kurdish politicians that were about to take the lead in solving the Kurdish question. The PKK commanders in Kandil, some of the most radical Kurdish militants in Europe, and maybe even imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan himself, were never happy with elected politicians becoming the main Kurdish interlocutors with the Turkish state. When Selahattin Demirtaş won 80 seats on June 7, he gained the respect and admiration of many in Turkey and abroad, but he signed his own death warrant, figuratively speaking, with the PKK diehards.

One can have a long discussion about the role of the PKK in the 1980s and 1990s. There has always been a divide among the Turkish and international supporters of Kurdish rights on how to judge the PKK. Most accepted the PKK as an inescapable part of the Kurdish struggle, like it or not. Others kept their distance because they hated the Stalinism, the maximalism and brutal tactics of the organization. Whatever the PKK's role in the past, there can be no understanding at all for the use of terrorist methods at a time when Kurdish politicians are in Parliament trying to find a democratic and peaceful solution. The PKK has become a millstone around the neck of the majority of Kurds, conservatives and nationalists who have put their trust in the HDP. The only way to get rid of that burden is for Kurds to make it clear, without ifs and buts, that the current PKK campaign will lead the country, Turks and Kurds, into a dead-end street. The majority of Turks that favor a solution can help by standing by the HDP while it is in danger of being squeezed between the Turkish state and the Kurdish hard-liners.
Source: http://en.cihan.com.tr/en/the-pkk-millstone-round-the-kurds-neck-1888954.htm

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