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The real ambush set up by the PKK…

Thursday 18 October 2007, by Cengiz Çandar

Turkey started the week with pain and rage: Thirteen soldiers were killed. We rarely had so many losses in the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and terror in its almost a quarter of a century long history.

The number of soldiers killed at once was scarcely high even in the 1990s where low-density war hit the roof. Many families soak in pain as young people of Turkey lose their lives here and there, bit by bit in land mine attacks. The families of the 13 soldiers killed are mourning now just a few days ahead of the holy Eid al Fitr days and just in Ramadan engraved in our culture as the “month of peace.” The entire country feels this heart ripping pain bringing a wave of rage alongside.As a person who knows southeastern Turkey very well, I see young faces parading before my eyes. In the district of Çukurca, I had a lunch with these bright young men in their early 20s. From Zonguldak, from Tekirdağ, from Balıkesir, young men deployed in control points in the valley stretching between Mardin and Savur, their fingers on the trigger, feeling anxious. Smart bright privates between Silopi and Habur saying that they know me for years and reminding me of passages I have already forgotten, from my books. Some are sons of my close friends anxiously waiting discharge certificates. Thirteen lives lost in the Mount Gabar were just 13 of all.

But why ?

The answer is not clear. There is no legitimate or acceptable logic in why the PKK escalates the tension and terror. Its leader Abdullah Öcalan declared in 1999 that the organization ceased fire and more importantly renounced their objective of “separation from Turkey.” At the end of the year, Turkey’s candidacy to the European Union was announced.Full of hope for peace, we took a turn in the year 2000; that was a brand new beginning for our country on the verge of the 21st century. Why what was ended in 1999 was revived again in 2007? Why are young men of this country losing their lives in wicked ambushes like the one set in Gabar? In fact, this new bloody episode began on Jun. 1, 2004 when the PKK announced the end of cease fire. Ironically, Turkey was about to be given a “negotiation start date” by EU on Dec. 14 of the same year. I wonder if there is no connection among these dates at all. As I said above, it was not just the ceasefire but was also the renouncement of “political objective” declared in the spring of 1999. What was it? Separation or breaking of southeast from Turkey; namely an “independent Kurdistan,” it was. After a while, the PKK’s leader imprisoned in Imrali announced a “new political objective” of the organization; “Democratic Confederation”, though it was not much of a sensible formula. Just a short while ago, he said that he could make the PKK climb down from the mountain within two months if an article about “preservation of different cultures” is appended in the new draft constitution. All right, but is it necessary to take lives for such “objectives”? Could there be any sense in destroying families. If the armed forces of the PKK are still strolling in mountains, plains or valleys in the southeast, there is no reasonable explanation to this. Just for this reason as a matter of fact the PKK sets up ambushes for democracy in Turkey not for soldiers in Gabar and Cudi. It is setting up traps for the stability in Turkey and targets of democratization, from which Kurdish citizens will most benefit. The PKK is backstabbing Turkey.
What could be the purpose for the blood shed in Turkey, at the dawn of a brand new outline and “democratic climate” to discuss the “Kurdish issue”, of the new parliament formed by the participation of people known for their at least emotional attachment to the PKK after the elections were held on July 22? What is the account for dragging Turkey into a dangerous ethnic tension and maelstrom of polarization? These are valid questions. Therefore, unless the PKK’s intentions, methods, way of conduct and timing are “diagnosed properly”, entire Turkey will fall for the trap, not just the 13 soldiers killed in Gabar; the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government will fall at first.
What could the more vicious PKK ambush be? To drag Turkey into the quagmire in Iraq, to northern Iraq precisely it is. Without maintaining full control in Gabar, having a cross-border operation in northern Iraq means nothing, let’s use our brains. It is not the high time for irrational rage, for falling to the PKK trap. In this regard, “initial reaction” of the government on Monday was very appropriate and smart, proven by that they did not give in to the “let’s have revenge” lobby trying to exploit emotions running high in the public opinion. The “Gabar ambush” is a “vicious PKK ambush” evoking Turkey to take irrational courses. Enlargement of the sphere of this trap by an operation in northern Iraq means to weaken hands of Turkey more in politics and diplomacy, let alone dynamiting security of the country, one shouldn’t forget that until today we entered northern Iraq 24 times with the support of Kurds there and with the approval of the U.S., and to pull out the rug from under the new government formed on July 22. If Turkey turns toward irrational reactions there will be no more new constitution, democratization, the EU bid, and eventually the AKP government. The Sheikh Sait revolt in 1925 brought the Peace and Order Bill (Takrir-i Sükun), the Law of Uniformity in Education (Tevhid-i Tedrisat) and the Courts of Independence as the color of the regime was changed too. The “damage to democracy” caused by the first Kurdish revolt in the history of Turkish Republic has not been fixed completely until today.The PKK sets up ambushes to “democratic Turkey,” to horizons of democracy in Turkey.
The priority is not to fall into this “trap”.

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Source : October 10, 2007 TDN

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