What lies behind the Turkish policy U turn in the Kurdish issue

What lies behind the Turkish policy U turn in the Kurdish issue


Kobani is becoming part of the National Kurdish history

By Manolis Kostidis – Ankara

The U turn of the Turkish government on the issue of supporting the Kurds of Kobani has drawn the attention of the international public opinion. Just a few days ago Turkey was refusing to send even humanitarian aid to the under siege Kurd warriors who were fighting to not let the city fall in the hands of the jihadists and now opens its border to allow the Army of pesmergka of Northern Iraq to pass through its territory to reach Kobani to fight the army of the Islamic State. At the same time it speeds up the process of solving the Kurdish issue with the Kurds of Turkey!

“There was a danger of civil war similar to that in Syria”

“The Turkish government reexamined the Kurdish issue immediately after the incidents that occurred in the country on October 6-8, due to the situation in Kobani. Maybe they thought that if there weren’t immediate developments in the Kurdish issue there was danger of erupting a Syrian-type civil war. And I think they were right to act as such”, refers exclusively to balkaneu.com, the academic-political analyst Hüseyin Yayman, who is a member of the committee of “wise men” that has been put together in Turkey to consult on the “Kurdish issue”.

Yayman maybe he right, since during the uprising of the Kurds 35 people had been killed in 48 hours, with most of the victims not being from police violence. Some of the victims were considered to be members of the Islamic State and were murdered simply because they went to pray in the mosque, while groups of Islamists lynched people just for being Kurds!

“The Prime Minister at the meeting told us that the Turkish region Suruts is for us the same as Kobani. He told us that there had been some sort of agreement on this issue for some time, but it was not disclosed because of the Turkish hostages held by the Islamic State. The rapid change in Turkey’s policy I think can be attributed to the events of October 6-8, when they realised that something must be done immediately on all fronts”, says Yayman.

“The history of the Kurdish issue is being written in Kobani”

“Kobani is not a simple matter; It is the resistance of the Kurds; they are writing history. I could say that the heroic story of a future Kurdish state in the region is being written. A national State always needs such stories”, said the political science professor, Deniz Ülke Arıboğan, who is considered to be intimately familiar with the Kurdish issue in Turkey.

The statement of the American Foreign Minister John Kerry who spoke of “the heroes who defend Kombani” cannot be taken lightly, since it might have great value in future developments.

Obama cornered Erdogan

Ankara has realised that the four weeks of the Kurdish resistance in Kobani, against the powerful weapons of the Islamic State, has caused the admiration of the West as well as that of all the Kurds of Mesopotamia.

While during the early days of the siege of the city by the jihadists everyone thought it was a matter of hours before the city fell, the Kurds of PYD (an offshoot of the PKK) still hold the city and repel the attacks. No Kurd is going to forget Erdogan’s statement on October 5: “Kobani will fall in a few hours”.

But what caused “panic” in Turkey, was the initiative of the United States to throw containers of ammunition and food to Kobani with air carrier, which took off from northern Iraq. This is a nightmarish scenario for Ankara since Erdogan had made ​​it clear that “the PYD and PKK are terrorist organizations and we cannot help them, nor can we allow anyone to help them”.

Washington, with the aerial bombardments and aerial supply, clearly supported the PYD clarifying that “the Kurds are those fighting with the Islamic State and we cannot leave them alone. The PYD is not included in the list of terrorist organizations”.

In the last 24hours Ahmet Davutoglu is having successive meetings with ministers and officials to discuss developments, since as political analysts report, “a complex situation has been formed. Turkey borders with the Kurds of Northern Iraq, who have their own army and are supported by the U.S., and now the Kurds of Syria receive munitions and have the clear support of the United States”.

Now the Kurds do not only want the support of their compatriots in Syria, but demand the rights promised to them by Recep Tayyip Erdogan when the PKK had declared a ceasefire. The Turkish government fears a «de facto» autonomy of the Kurds of southeastern Turkey.

Interior Minister Efkan Ala, announced that “there is a possibility to improve the conditions of the detention of Abdullah Öcalan”. Already, there are scenarios circulating that speak of his release from the island Imrali, where he has been imprisoned since 1999, and start a period of home detention in Turkey. Ocalan’s next aim is considered to be his political activity.

The Turkish government believes that the only weapon available to calm the spirits of the Kurds and prevent any future uprisings, is Ocalan, who controls much of the PKK. If the conditions of his detention are improved and certain rights are given to the Kurds, such as administrative autonomy to municipalities, immunity to PKK guerrillas etc., the situation might normalise in the turkish southeastern territories.

“The government discusses with Öcalan on the Kurdish issue, as in the past they had attempted to open a dialogue with Mount Qandil (northern Iraq) – remember the talks in Oslo. But all these efforts had failed. With Ocalan however, they have achieved a truce and now, albeit late, there is a development”, says Hüseyin Yayman.