A terrorist organization is a terrorist organization… Really?
Turkey’s Terrorism Policies and the Case of Hamas
Merve Tahiroglu – 17 August 2015 – “A terrorist organization is a terrorist organization,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told a military ceremony Tuesday, defending Turkey’s two-front war against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Islamic State (IS). Ankara, he said, does not differentiate between terrorists, “regardless of their name, discourse, aim and symbols.” One day later, Erdoğan welcomed Hamas’ politburo chief Khaled Meshal to his palace for an hour-long private meeting.
As long as Turkey continues to support Hamas, Erdoğan’s claim that Ankara treats all terrorists as the same will ring hollow. As Turkey justifies its fight against the PKK, an organization designated by the U.S. and EU, it ignores that Hamas (which is designated by the same entities) poses an equal threat to innocent civilians – just not Turkish ones. Read the full analysis.
Turkey Risks Relapse into ’90s Violence
Aykan Erdemir – 17 August 2015 – A specter is haunting Turkey. Suicide bombers, assassins and an alphabet soup of terrorist organizations seem to have brought back the carnage of the 1990s. The rapid escalation of violence of the last three weeks may be puzzling for Turkey’s younger generations. For those of us who lived through the 1990s, however, it is eerily familiar.
The 1990s recall memories of Turkey’s dirty war. My generation’s everyday routine was punctuated by gruesome breaking news: the bombing of pro-Kurdish newspapers; 35 people burned alive at an Alevi religious festival; massacres by Kurdish PKK terrorists; the discovery of underground cells where radical Islamists hogtied victims to suffer a slow and painful death.
More traumatic still was the revelation that certain elements of the Turkish state were either complicit or indifferent to these crimes. During those years, Turkey painfully learned how quickly the country could be drawn into lawlessness and a culture of impunity. The backdrop of violence provides ample opportunities for vigilantes to settle intercommunal scores
Government incitement has a way of infiltrating into popular consciousness. Last Tuesday, a columnist for a government mouthpiece accused the leader of the pro-Kurdish HDP party of being “the pawn of the crusader-Zionist alliance” fighting against “independent Muslim Turkey.” More recently, a professor at a prestigious university advocated the killing one HDP deputy in retaliation for each victim of the PKK. His call for violence was received with approval and an online solidarity campaign.
Unless the Turkish government and its die-hard supporters manage to step back from the rhetorical brink, they will be responsible for pushing the country into a spiral of violence that will make the 1990s look tame by comparison. Full analysis.