Turkey: irritant word peace

Bombing in response to PKK unilateral ceasefire

According to the Turkish Medical Association, the bombing of a peace demonstration organized by trade unions in Ankara early Saturday morning claimed 97 lives. Around 400 people are injured, some of them so seriously that they are fighting for their lives in intensive care. Talking about the assassination with the highest number of dead in the history of Turkey.

Meanwhile, lists with the names of the dead known so far have been published. The victims all belonged to the pro-Kurdish HDP (Democratic People’s Party) and other leftist organizations. Among the dead are z.B. Kubra Meltem Mollaoglu, HDP candidate in Istanbul for the parliamentary elections on 1 January. November 2015. At least one of the dead was holding a cardboard sign with the inscription "Peace now" in hand.

Politicians from all parties express their horror. In response to the attack, politicians from abroad also expressed their condolences, u.a. German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU). There were spontaneous expressions of solidarity with the victims worldwide, including in several places in the FRG.

The HDP has suspended its election campaign activities. "All campaign events and activities of the HDP have been stopped. We are not a purely electoral party, our goal is the freedom of society, which we achieve even without electoral activities", said the party’s co-chairman Selahattin Demirtas.

Mehrere Gewerkschaften kundigen fur kommenden Montag und Dienstag einen landesweiten Generalstreik an. These include the DISK (Confederation of Revolutionary Workers’ Unions of Turkey), the KESK (Confederation of Public Service Unions of Turkey) and the TMMOB (Turkic Union of Architects and Engineers).

"How can the intelligence community not know about this kind of attack planning?"

So far, we can only speculate about the background and the perpetrators. Only Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (AKP/Party of Justice and Development) mentioned possible perpetrators: the Islamic State (IS) terrorist militia, which was also responsible for the attack in Suruc on 20 September. June 2015 is held responsible, the Kurdish guerrilla PKK or the leftist DHKP-C (Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front). This blame game is not very original, when all the victims are from leftist organizations. But it works: News broadcasts all over the world are unreflectively spreading the idea that the PKK might have been responsible for the attacks.

"These bombs are reminiscent of Diyarbakir and Suruc. Those responsible will probably not be held accountable", mutmabt, on the other hand, the co-chairman of the HDP, Selahattin Demirtas.

How can the powerful Turkish secret service not know about such plans??

In any case, it is clear that a bomb exploded at both entrances to Ankara’s main train station at around 9 a.m. (local time). According to eyewitnesses, a third one was disarmed in time. It is also clear that the assassination was carried out at a demonstration that was explicitly directed at both the Turkish government and the PKK, demanding that they lay down their weapons and return to the negotiating table.

Excerpt from an eyewitness video

It is also clear that the PKK was already fulfilling this demand in the run-up to the demonstration: The Kurdish guerrillas had agreed to a unilateral cease-fire until 1 January. November, the day of the parliamentary elections. This had already become public before the assassination, but was to be officially announced on Sunday:

Our guerrilla units will refrain from planned actions during this phase (…), it will refrain from any actions that could endanger or hinder the equal and fair conduct of the elections.

In the meantime, the first voices are being raised calling for the postponement of the elections on 1 January. November forecast for an indefinite period.

A new stage of escalation

"Baris" (Peace) seems to be an irritant word in Turkey. The PKK (PKK: (K)a Success Story) has unilaterally silenced its weapons several times in this militant conflict that has lasted more than 30 years. For the first time on 20. March 1993. The other side simply ignored the offers, and the conflict reached its preliminary climax in the following months.

On 1. In September 1998, PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan again declared a unilateral cease-fire. This was answered by Turkey’s deployment of tanks on the Syrian border, demanding the extradition of Ocalan. In order to avoid a war between Syria and Turkey, the latter embarked on its famous odyssey, which ended on 15. February 1999 in Kenya. He was sentenced to death and has since been held incommunicado on Imralı Prison Island. Due to international prere, the death penalty has now been commuted to life imprisonment.

The unilateral cease-fire of 1998 was finally ended in 2004; since then, periods of peace and struggle have alternated. Since 2012 there are peace negotiations on the part of the Turkish government under Erdogan. The latter, however, had to contend with the assassination attempt on 20 September. The July attack on a left-wing cultural center on the border with Syria, in which 34 young people were killed, ended the war.

In retaliation for the assassination, the PKK carried out attacks on police and army facilities, and on the police and the army. Members of the police and army. According to official statements, these attacks were not intended by the organization, but were carried out by local units that were out of control.

Be that as it may, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan began his bloody campaign of revenge in retaliation for the poor results for his AKP party and the above-average election results for the HDP. Civil war-like conditions have prevailed in southeastern Turkey for months. Only recently, pictures of the young Kurdish filmmaker and peace activist Haci Lokman Birlik, who was murdered by uniforms, went around the world. His dead body was tied with a rope to a military vehicle and dragged through his hometown.

The Ankara attack, however, represents a new level of escalation even in the face of this. But even in this situation, the state power knew no mercy: "The police do not let the ambulances through, they throw gas grenades at the injured and dead", Demirtas described.

This is like our demonstration in Diyarbakir in early June, when a bomb also exploded. People who go to the streets for war and violence can do so without problems and police violence. People who take to the streets for peace are murdered.

Within weeks last summer Erdogan bombed the country back to the 1990s. The military operations are accompanied by pogroms against members of the Kurdish, Alevi and Armenian minorities. This is also a familiar pattern.

The repetition

On 17. In April 1995, something unique in TV history took place: The Turkish state television station TRT-INT broadcasted a 56-hour special program titled "Go Turkey! Hand in hand with the brave soldiers! Let us support with joy our brave soldiers who sacrifice themselves with joy for the fatherland!". In this more than two-day media telethon, militaries and politicians, supported by celebrities, drummed up money and cannon fodder for the Turkish army. The program was broadcast live from studios in Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir and Adana, and was available via satellite TV all over the world.

At that time the war in Kurdistan was at its – from today’s point of view premature – peak. Hand in hand with the glorification of war went racist propaganda, which found its counterpart in a downright pogrom atmosphere against persons of Kurdish, Alevi or Armenian origin, organizations, associations and businessmen and against leftists. Not only in Turkey, respectively. the Kurdish areas on Turkic territory, but also abroad. At present, we can observe how this history repeats itself.

This pogrom atmosphere is fueled by the media, whose power has long been recognized by Turkish militaries and politicians. Two years before the broadcast of the 56-hour telethon, former Chief of General Staff of the Turkish Army and Chairman of the National Security Council (MGK), Dogan Gures, convened a conference with publishers and editors-in-chief at which he invited the press to, "to pull together with the military in the fight against the PKK and terrorism".

As a result, 17 journalists from opposition media outlets were arrested by so-called "unknown perpetrators" murdered, 200 journalists were in custody before Erdogan’s new offensive. In the week before last, 32 employees of Kurdish media were arrested in Diyabakir, Kurdistan alone.

Meanwhile, the Turkish government imposed a total news blackout on the Ankara attack. However, in the age of the World Wide Web, the flow of news is unstoppable.

Only at the beginning of last week Erdogan made a furor in Brussel (Erdogan drives up the price). He was given a rough ride there because EU politicians are hoping that he will help them solve the "Refugee crisis" will be helpful. If Turkey could be declared a safe country of origin, then most of the refugees from Syria and Iraq arriving here could be sent back immediately.

Erdogan, for his part, used the meeting in Brussels to demand support for the fight against terror, i.e. the PKK. It comes in very handy when a few days later the PKK can be presented as the possible perpetrator of the attack with the highest number of deaths in the history of Turkey ..