This is the beginning of a new period for the Kurdish political movement. We can say with confidence that the Turkish state will continue its operations geared towards removing Kurds as an actor from societal processes. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) enact policies to neutralise, isolate and immobilise Kurdish politics, and their policies of oppression and violence will become even more visible in the coming period.
The AKP uses such policies as election fodder, and attempts to cover up its weak and powerless condition by relying on violence.
As the AKP loses power and as its weakness becomes more visible in the political arena, it grows more petulent and works harder using force to keep society under control.
It is clear that the risk of a government dissolution has stirred unrest among those who have come together around the government to feed off of the profiteering economy. The AKP puts forth new moves to keep such circles close, creating new areas of profiteering and pillaging to satisfy their hunger.
There is a visible rupture in state bureaucracy. The AKP is trying to control these ruptures on one hand, and on the other, to prevent new and sudden ruptures.
The increasingly severe tone of criticism coming from significant actors of AKP’s golden age could be considered another sign of the same symptom. Bülent Arınç, who has repeatedly stressed that he is among the uniquely significant members of the party, has all but said “the emperor has no clothes” and encouraged others to speak out. He did this in the presence of opposition leaders, which is telling. After Arınç, another AKP founding member Hüseyin Çelik said similar things, which tells us that the former cadres who have been pushed out of the party will have much more to say in coming days.
This will be a time of cracks in the party and the bureaucracy will become more visible.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is trying to keep state elements together via Kurdophobia. It is debatable whether he will succeed or not, but we know from past experience that he will not stop trying and will not refrain from taking risks.
The opposition on the other hand has not put forth a clear stance in the Kurdish issue, which gives Erdoğan a stronger hand and provides him with space to maneuver.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) reflects the will and the representative power of Kurdish politics. Their policies that push both the government and the opposition have not yet amounted to much, but as the election draws nearer, it will become more apparent that Kurds’ support is not a ‘done deal’, and that Kurdish politics will have the determining power.
Once again, Kurds hold the key to winning elections, and they will not offer this key for free.
In a nutshell:
Any approach standing against the Kurds’ will is going to face a political crisis.
The government is currently experiencing this crisis. And now, the main opposition and its periphery will have to make a decision. Their choice will determine who will win.
Kurdish politics offers a “win-win” strategy, offering the ground to build from, but it is yet to be seen how the opposition will react to it.
We know that Kurdish politics don’t see elections as something to win or lose. Kurds’ principled stance keeps them on the winning side in any case. When Kurds lose, governments also lose. When Kurds win, all of society wins.
The true choice is not the one that Kurds will make, but the one to be made by political actors and society as a whole.