BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
Yes, it’s coming, an unnecessary election designed to serve the interests of one party (at best) and more realistically, one megalomaniac. This is not a diatribe directed at Mike Gatto who has often been the object of harsh criticism from me, but about Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the man who would be a newfangled, neo-Ottoman sultan and (now) his Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi (AKP).
It’s all over except for the bloodshed, to all appearances. With acting/caretaker/interim (whatever the proper term is) Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu announcing on August 13 that “an early election is the only option ahead,” it is only a matter of time before that election is held. Given the legalities and likely actions of the parties and people involved, the earliest date would be November 22.
“What bloodshed?” you might be wondering. It is the blood that has already started flowing with Turkey’s stalling on negotiations with the Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan (PKK), resulting in the termination of the latter’s unilaterally declared ceasefire, which provided the excuse for the AKP-led government to start bombing Kurdish areas. This was accomplished by duping Turkey’s American “partner,” who was led to believe Turkey was finally aboard to fight the threat posed by the Islamic State operating in Iraq and Syria. But Turkey has bombed three IS targets (all on the first day) and 300 Kurdish ones!
Imagine, even American military folks are complaining! Americans were almost bombed when given only 10 minutes to clear out of the target area! No less an establishment, pro-Turkey, often hawkish a source as the “Wall street Journal” reported: “It’s clear that ISIL was a hook,” said a senior U.S. military official, referring to Islamic State. “Turkey wanted to move against the PKK, but it needed a hook.”
How are bombing Kurds and elections in Turkey connected? Since the AKP did not get a majority in Parliament in the June 7 election, Erdoğan’s march towards creating an “authoritarian democracy,” ruled effectively by himself, has been hamstrung. He needs that majority to change Turkey’s constitution to vest the president (him) with greater powers. So, Erdoğan, through his puppet Davutoğlu, started the bombing to rile up the extreme nationalist/chauvinist sector of Turkish society so that they would vote for the AKP in the upcoming election. Remember, this election is going to be held because the AKP, which got the largest number of seats in parliament, and, through Davutoğlu, is charged with forming a coalition government, has set conditions unacceptable to any of the other three parties in parliament. “Self fulfilling prophecy” anyone?
I would not even be surprised if we learn from Erdoğan’s memoirs or colleagues, many years from now, that he intentionally stalled the Kurdish peace talks to see how the June election would turn out. For him and his ego, everything and everyone else seem to be secondary.
Of course there’s a risk to this abominable, bloody, electoral tactic. Since those paying the heaviest price are the Kurds, and since many Kurds vote for the AKP on religious grounds, the party might actually lose Kurdish votes while simultaneously not gaining enough right-wing voters’ support to compensate. In that case, the biggest winner might be the Kurdish/minority/diversity based Halkların Demokratik Partisi (HDP).
It is tragic that so many people will die, many of them Armenians or their hidden descendants, to suit one man’s ego.
Write your Congressmembers, Senators, President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry demanding that they rein in Turkey/Erdoğan to save Turkish, Kurdish, Assyrian, Armenian, Alevi, and even American lives and so that the Islamic State is not given time to recover and reestablish good relations with Turkey, once its most formidable opponents, Kurdish fighters, are killed or sidelined.