“The clashes in Avaşin, Metina and Zap have been going on for more than a week. If it continues like this, we will witness the most exhaustive conflicts between the two powers,” writes Ehmed Pelda for Yeni Yaşam.
Turkey is following a different strategy.
It focuses on one or two places each year, splitting the region based on its own plans. First, it uses its military to settle in a specific region. Then it builds roads, communication facilities, military zones and police stations. In addition, by mobilising the villagers in the region, they are trying to create social support by using them as agents and village guards while trying to break the military isolation and create an imaginary atmosphere for security and peacekeeping.
Turkey aims for a permanent presence in the Bashur area (Bashur meaning the “South”, the term refers to South Kurdistan) and has striven for years to establish its social base there.
For example, it encourages politicians in Bashur to become partners in trade and to open offices, factories and commercial logistics spaces in Turkey. It supports them to use their money for interest in Turkish banks. It encourages them to buy real estate. Those who have economic and political power visit Turkey frequently. They have houses and permanent offices for deepening economic and social relationships with business, retired soldiers, and current politicians in Turkey. Likewise, Turkish companies and their offices are located in Bashur.
However, Bakur Kurds (Bakur meaning the “North”, the term refers to North Kurdistan) are excluded from this system as part of a conscious strategy. It is not only the preference of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) but also of Turkey, which makes a special effort to prevent relations between the two parts of Kurdistan in terms of economic, political and national integration.
Turkish culture spreads across the region in the form of TV series, music, dress, school systems, etc. Likewise, tours and holidays are organised for the Bashur people to visit Turkey, and the society deeply admires Turkey.
The Turkish state, which also knows the function of religion, is in a very subtle relationship with the conservative political parties in Bashur. It provides financial support and substitutes the “Turk-and-Muslim” centered training for the Kurds’ madrasah and classical Kurdish training approach. The Ottomans and Erdoğan are glorified through targeted propaganda in Bashur and the idea of a “common enemy” is produced by hostility towards Arabs and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
A common enemy is produced in order to create economic, cultural and political partnerships. Anti-PKK attitudes are seen as a very important opportunity in this regard. Bashur executives say that Turkey has entered the region because of the PKK, but they are also very pleased with the fact that Turkey enters the region. If the soldiers settle in the region, the reason is the KDP, which builds their roads and provides them with construction vehicles. The KDP and Turkey are working together to make the local people village guards (known as “korucu”, these particular guards have been formed by local Kurdish people to work together with the Turkish security forces), to deepen the anti-PKK opposition and to displace the Kurds from the region.
Turkey’s military settlement in Bashur is considered by local administrators almost as a “rescue” mission. Even if the PKK leaves the region, the KDP, whose relations are now so intertwined with Turkey, has reached such a level of dependence that they will not want Turkey to leave the region at all.