“Erdoğan’s words are an admission that despite these great losses and massive costs, he has been unable to bring the Kurdish people to their knees. Because of this he has started on a new game focused on turning İmralı, Kandil and the HDP against each other,” writes Fehim Isik for Yeni Özgür Politika.
Erdoğan’s words are an admission that despite great losses and massive costs, he has been unable to bring the Kurdish people to their knees. Because of this he has started on a new game focused on turning İmralı, Kandil (the province in Iraqi Kurdistan where the Kurdistan Workers’ Party has its headquarters and bases) and the HDP [pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party] against each other, creating impediments within the Kurdish movement.
Erdoğan read his words from the prompter with care. It is clear that he was reading words written having absorbed the intelligence reports. This is what he said, precisely: “The man in Edirne [prison] will have to account for himself to the one in İmralı [prison]…” [Edirne and İmralı are the prisons in which Selahattin Demirtaş, former co-chair of the HDP, and Abdullah Öcalan, the PKK leader, are respectively detained]
In essence, these words are an admission. The meaning of what he was saying is: I have not been able to do what I wanted, my earlier plans have collapsed, I am now working on a new plan.
It is apparent that they had made preparations.
The media loyal to the Justice and Development Party [AKP, Turkey’s ruling party] brought the subject onto the agenda immediately. The things they wrote, the things they discussed! What they were actually doing was embarking on an operation to influence public perception as widely as possible. If we did not know Kurdish politics, if we were not acquainted with the players, we too might almost have believed that everyone was waiting in an ambush to annihilate the others.
Is this just the media loyal to the AKP?!
There was virtually no-one, from Gülen supporters to Republican People’s Party (CHP, Turkey’s main opposition party) members, who did not embrace Erdoğan’s utter nonsense, or who stopped to analyse these words.
Some of Gülen’s supporters embraced the lie that İmralı [a euphemism for Öcalan] and Ankara have an understanding. Of these, Emre Uslu even tried to advise HDP and Demirtaş, urging them to be cautious. They’re taking the ground from beneath your feet, but you’re strong, don’t let them overwhelm you, he meant to say.
Emre Uslu has not yet been able to escape the hysteria that the problem is rooted in the PKK, his proposal is to make people cry for help. His implication with respect to the HDP and Selahattin Demirtaş was: Stay away from the PKK. Support the National Alliance [an alliance of opposition parties not including the HDP] against the AKP…
… So, even as they wave their white flag before Erdoğan, they don’t want to lose the HDP as the single force who will challenge Erdoğan in public. The HDP stands at a key point, and it is clear that whomever it points to will be the winner. This is why they persist in trying to attach the HDP to the CHP. And if they could break the HDP away from the Kurdish question and harness a new energy that would bring Turkey to safety under the existing hit-man status quo, what a mess that would be!
There have been interesting reactions from certain CHP members. They have taken a position as if: No-one should be worried; the PKK and İmralı are acting together with the AKP, but the HDP and Selahattin Demirtaş are on our side, there’s no problem.
It could be said that by taking this stance these CHP members are supporting Erdoğan’s new game.
Anyway, let’s leave aside those writing without knowing the slightest thing about the Kurdish movement, and return to the main player, Erdoğan.
Naturally Erdoğan was not simply alleging that Selahattin Demirtaş needs to give an account of himself to Abdullah Öcalan. At the same time he was implying that there are major disputes to be settled within the Kurdish movement.
It is clear that he is making new preparations focusing on weakening the Kurdish movement he has been unable to defeat by causing internal conflict; on saving himself by drawing those he can separate off to join him and on achieving at least one more term in office.
In doing this, knowingly or otherwise, he is making admissions in two basic points. The first is his acceptance of Mr Öcalan’s power and influence. And the second is his announcement of the collapse of all his plans against the Kurdish movement.
Yes, it is necessary to accept that in the last five or six years he has dealt some very serious blows to the achievements of the Kurdish people and has caused them to pay some serious costs. But Erdoğan’s words are an admission that despite these great losses and massive costs, he has been unable to bring the Kurdish people to their knees. Because of this he has started on a new game focused on turning İmralı, Kandil and the HDP against each other, creating impediments within the Kurdish movement.
There is something that Erdoğan has not taken into account as he starts his new game. And that is, that although he has admitted Öcalan’s power he has not yet fully understood his defining characteristic. Whether he sees it or not, it is very obvious that there is no objection to Mr Öcalan’s decision-making role, whether from Kandil or from the HDP and its constituents, including Selahattin Demirtaş. This being the case, it is a waste of time to make allegations that there are internal disputes between İmralı and the others, and to determine policy on the basis of this.
Naturally I’m not saying that there are no problems between the different focuses of power in the Kurdish movement and that everything is a garden of roses. Could that be possible? Of course there can be arguments between different parts of the Kurdish movement. Great differences of opinion may even occur. But when there is no problem with communication, it is Mr Öcalan who synthesises all these balances and ultimately it is he who presents the determining idea. This did not change either in the Oslo Process nor the 2013 Solution Process.
This being the case, it is the gravest error to grasp at Erdoğan’s threads and act as a buttress for the creation of his future through his intrigues. The situation needs to be clearly understood from the point of view of the Kurdish movement. The aim of the Kurdish movement is to play the ball and not the man. For this reason it meets with everyone, including its most savage opponents, as it should. This is entirely legitimate and just.
Let us wind up with the last word…
Selahattin Demirtaş is quite bright enough to be aware that the Kurdish question will not be solved without Abdullah Öcalan and the PKK, and is perceptive enough not to fall for Erdoğan’s games…
And Mr Öcalan’s leadership of the Kurdish movement is indisputable. Abdullah Öcalan is fully aware that he has a massive organisation and millions of supporters behind him under any conditions. This being the case, every person of sound mind knows, or should know, that this leader, who observes the balances so well, is not going to fall for this cheap trick and see Selahattin Demirtaş as competition.