But no doubt, it makes war with itself !
Turkey At War With Itself.
by Steven A. Cook – October 12, 2015 ; In his famous and much-criticized 1993 Foreign Affairs article, “The Clash of Civilizations,” the late Samuel Huntington described Turkey as a “torn country.” For Huntington there is an irreconcilable difference between the Western-style political institutions of the Republic of Turkey and the Islamic cultural and civilizational foundations of Turkish society. It was a controversial assertion in a controversial article, though Turkey’s current prime minister (and political scientist), Ahmet Davutoglu, made a similar claim in his 1984 dissertation. I disagree with both professors. Turkey may not be “torn” in the way that Huntington and Davutoglu believe, but it is tearing itself apart in a war with itself.
The background for Saturday’s horrific bombing is about another seemingly irreconcilable difference, that between Turkish and Kurdish nationalism. Ever since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded the Republic after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I on a specifically ethno-nationalist basis that made “Turkishness” a singular attribute of identity, expressions of Kurdish identity have been suppressed, often violently. In return, Kurdish alienation has often been expressed through force. The most recent example is the three-decades-long war between the terrorists of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish state. There are, of course, many Kurds who are well integrated in the political, social, and economic life of Turkey. This has considerably less to do with any flexibility or accommodation on the part of the state or the dominant social group—Turks—than an apparent willingness on the part of the Kurds to accommodate themselves to the mainstream culture and negotiate their way in it.
That the conflict between nationalisms is the central drama of Turkish politics does not mean that one could not imagine its resolution. The problem has always been politics and the way that politicians—leftist, rightist, centrist, Islamist, secular, and Kurdish—have leveraged the conflict to advance their own agendas.
Beyond the immediate tragedy of the Ankara bombing, this is an environment rife with hard-to-resist opportunities for politicians to deepen Turkey’s instability. This is particularly so as November 1 approaches—the date set for the rerun of the country’s June national elections.
The PKK has a role to play in creating an environment of violence. The murder of two police officers while they slept in Sanliurfa on July 22 was reported to be the work of a PKK youth wing only marginally under the control of the organization’s leadership. Be that as it may, the PKK was itching for a fight as the peace process, which began in 2013 between the group and the Turkish government, faltered. Also, the organization’s leadership seems unwilling to countenance the rise of the HDP with is own charismatic leader who is committed to playing by the existing rules of the Turkish political game and has been successful at it. It seems that the AKP, the nationalist hardliners of the MHP, and the PKK have an abiding political interest in cutting the HDP down to size. Needless to say, the cycle of violence Turks and Kurds are currently enduring serve that purpose.
The unfortunate reality is that Turkish society is now made up of mutually distrustful camps
No one knew where Turkey was headed after November 1, but it was also clear that the principles and ideals of democratic politics and the importance of Western-inspired political institutions had become embedded in their minds. [Full article]
Filed under: 2015 General Elections; June - Nov_Genel Seçimleri; Haziran - Kasım, A K P, Barış Süreci/Peace Process, Başbakanlık_Prime Minister, Cumhurbaşkanlığı_President of Republic, GENEL SEÇİMLER-GENERAL ELECTIONS, HDP, Irkçılık-Racisme, MHP, Terrorism | Tagged: Ankara bombing, Kurdish nationalism, terrorists of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), The Clash of Civilizations, Turkey’s instability, Turkishness |