Friday, November 09, 2007

The PKK & the conflict between the Turkish army & the government

The following is a translation of an Arabic political analysis Q&A:

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Question: We are aware that the Turkish army and the Turkish government are at odds, how could they agree on the decision to launch a military attack on PKK in Iraq? We must remember that by launching this attack, it the army which stands to gain and will certainly place the Turkish government in an awkward position with the US which occupies Iraq and especially Kurdistan, given the outstanding relationship between the Turkish government and the United States? Then, why did the Congress (the Senate) approve the Armenian genocide at this time causing further embarrassment for Erdogan government of?

Answer:

To understand the issue, we need to know the actual realities of the parties involved: the PKK, the Turkish army and the present Turkish government.

First of all, the PKK and its relation with the Turkish army and government:

The PKK was established in 1979, but actually emerged prominent in 1984 during Türgat Özal’s tenure of 1983 – 1993, when it launched its first operations against the Turkish army in Siirt (Kurdish city in eastern Turkey), which was intended to embarrass the army in terms of security and was timed to coincide with Özal’s efforts at putting the army in an awkward situation when Özal formed a heavily armed police force which lasted as long as Özal’s tenure. The Turkish army retaliated by sourcing out heavy weaponry and ammunition for itself.

The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) remained in such a situation as America’s weapon and challenge to the Turkish army until around 1997, 1998, and the disturbances of February 1997. The government of Bülent Ecevit, the veteran loyal of England in June 1997 threatened Syria because of its support to the Kurdish Workers Party. It was then finally when America realised that they need to have a deal with the Turkish army through the new Turkish government, as the political and military power in Turkey was the same. The US decided to abandon its support to the PKK as a militant organisation and thus save its influence in Syria. As a result, Syria signed a treaty with Turkey in October 1998 and according to the terms of this agreement, Syria stopped its support to the PKK and also expelled its leader Abdullah Öcalan and delivered a number of other leaders in Syrian custody over to Turkey.

Öcalan left Syria for Russia where he was refused asylum, then he left for Greece, then Italy and then lived in Kenya, where a unit of Special Forces of the Turkish army went to Kenya and received Öcalan under an arrangement with the American Central intelligence agency.

After this, the US became active in Turkey and worked on political and democratic fronts and finally successfully brought its man Erdogan and his party to power in 2002.

Subsequently the PKK split: One section led by Osman Ocalan marched along to the new American tunes, while the other was hijacked by the British, and the influence of the Jews was much in evidence in their in their training and the ways of their leaders. The Turkish army which has been loyal to the British, took this second faction under their patronage and used them to embarrass the pro-US government of Erdogan. At the same time the Turkish army exercised its control over them and thus created a justification for itself to impose its presence whenever necessary under the pretext of eliminating unrest. Thus, with respect to the PKK, the American policy, especially during the government of the ruling Justice Party (AKP), is to project the Kurdish issue as a political one; while the British see the Kurdish issue as security problem. This explains the current armed campaign launched by the English wing of PKK.
The Turkish army, ever since its formation by its mentor Mustafa Kemal Pasha has been a tool for his scheme. Mustafa Kemal Pasha used it to execute the agenda of his British masters by destroying the Khilafah. It was Kemal Pasha who deliberately planned to form the Turkish army and its leadership was accordingly indoctrinated in his faith in order to make it a force to wage war on Islamic ideas and emotions, and use all methods to brutally liquidate the elements in which it finds any signs of respect for Islam. The matters are even worse, it is this very disrespect for Islam that is the criteria for promotion in the armed forces and any respect to Islam demonstrated by the women and relatives of the armed forces members is accounted for by the army.

Thus the armed forces of Turkey remain staunchly secular and the loyal to the British and their policies, and consider itself as the guardian and protector of the republic founded by Mustafa Kemal, based on its ingrained anti-Islamic stance, pro-British outlook and secularism as the cornerstones of its existence. The armed forces of Turkey consider violation of these cornerstones as ‘crime’ and sees itself as protector of the republic.

America has tried very hard to penetrate in Turkey and dismember its armed forces which it realises hold the reins of power, but all its attempts were in vain. The armed forces are too deeply ingrained and indoctrinated with Mustafa Kemal and his British ways, and every time they see threat, they stamp it out ruthlessly, they do not wait until the enemy crosses the red mark, but they sense the threat even before their enemy has approached the yellow mark. This is how the coups of 1960, 1971, 1980, and 1997 took place and every time the argument was ‘preserving the secular (English) character of the republic.

America has long been invested in formation and support of the present Turkish government, and as soon as influence the AKP, the US threw its weight behind its men in the party: Erdogan and Abdullah Gül ever since its inception in August 2001.

Soon afterwards, ground was prepared for the arrival of Erdogan, the US began by has withdrawing 5 to 7 billion US dollars from the Central Bank of Turkey in 2001, which was given during the Türgat Özal’s tenure as an economic incentive and which had enabled the US to gain a foothold in Turkey and carry out its agenda. This huge drain resulted in a monetary crisis creating economic instability, and people were disgruntled because the purchasing power of the Turkish lira fell sharply. People were angry with Ecevit and wanted him out.

In the meantime, America was able to put together a small party that was composed of members from Yilmaz and Ecevit’s parties, this was the National Movement Party headed by Daulat Beheshali, and instructed him to seek early elections, and otherwise threaten to resign. Thus early elections were announced for November 3rd, 2002 which the Justice and Development Party overwhelmingly won. This was significant because in its election campaigns, though the manifesto was generally secular, yet it had appealed to the Islamic sentiments of the common man and thus it won a majority on its own despite the anti Islamic Kemalists and the secular army.

Erdogan began implementation of his pre-planned scheme are started to strengthen ties with the United States and weaken the influence of the British, especially the army. One of his first actions was his proposal to limit the authority of the National Security Council’s intervention in governance, as well induction of civilian members in the Council thus making its composition mixed. This had embarrassed the armed forces and according to certain leaked reports, it was the army that was behind the Istanbul bombings during late 2003. This was designed to create chaos and exploit the resulting situation as pretext to intervene much like the coup of February last. This did not succeed. In recent years the Erdogan government signed a ‘Common Vision’ document with the government of the United States, this was accomplished by Abdullah Gül and US Secretary of State Rice on 05/07/2006. It was posted on the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of America and its broad outlines were revealed in a press statement on the same day. This ‘Common Vision” document begins with the preamble that: “We share common values and ideas on regional and global objectives: the fostering peace, democracy, freedom and prosperity.”

Now having studied the reality Kurdistan Workers Party the KPP, the Turkish armed forces and the current government, one can better appreciate and understand the ongoing events and put them in perspective. The situation now is no different; the armed forces can no longer afford to get rid of governments that are not to their liking by means of coups. Therefore they seem to have decided to create security chaos to destabilize the government of Erdogan and force it to resign.

Before addressing the recent events and analysing them, we would like to mention two important points:

The first: Chief of Staff of the Turkish armed forces Yasar Buyukanit’s background:

Yasar Buyukanit is one of the key British men in the Turkish army. He is considered to be hawk and the British hope to use his skills to restore the armed forces to their former position of strength and glory. He was hastily appointed to the post by the Military Advisory Council before the conclusion of its meeting on August 4th,2006 which is usual in such cases, the Military Advisory Council resolution issued was issued on 1st August, 2006, because the decision to appoint General Yasar Buyukanit was required to be sent to the prime minister for endorsement following the meeting of the Supreme Military Council of State (YAŞ) on 04 August 2006, but the urgency of the generals was the result of their apprehensions that Erdogan may spring a surprise against the appointment, hence the hurried decision.

The generals feared that the Erdogan may stretch his foreign visits citing the Lebanese crisis, and this in turn may impede convening the meeting the Council of Ministers, in addition to that most ministers were outside Ankara, and parliament was in its annual vacations, and all this would delay the ratification of the decision to appoint General Yasar Buyukanit. Indeed Erdogan had planned to leave Turkey on 2nd August to attend the meeting of the Islamic Conference in Malaysia and intended to continue with his visits in order to delay the endorsement of the decision appointing General Yasar Buyukanit. But the generals who realised that and forced Erdogan to ratify the decision a day before his departure and the Supreme Military Council of State (YAŞ) announced the appointment on 4/8/2006!

The secular circles in Turkey were keenly awaiting the arrival of General Yasar Buyukanit as the Chief of Staff in anticipation. It is therefore to be expected that his tenure of two years until August 2008 will be a difficult period for Erdogan, and may lead to the faltering progress of the government of the ruling Justice and Development according to the expected conflict.

It must be borne in mind that true to his military traditions, this general is like most other, but even worse, he surpasses all others in his hostility for Islam: He has started his tenure by dismissing seventeen members of the armed forces for harbouring Islamic sentiments and as such cited their non-compatibility as the reason for terminating their services.

Second: The government of the ruling Justice party is serious about curtailing the powers of the army by enacting laws through the parliamentary and other democratic methods, which is in line with American policy. This is because the armed forces of Turkey are the cornerstone of British influence in the country and limiting their powers and expanding the role of the government will curtail British influence as well as strengthen the influence of America.
The government has already been treading this path, they had appointed a civilian as the secretary in the National Security Council in 2003 thereby weakening the army’s influence over it, also the same process was repeated in the Constitutional Court, where the number of army loyalists were reduced, etc. Thus, the government of the ruling Justice party is steadily weakening the army’s overwhelming role in governance.

Having studied this, we now proceed to address the question on the recent events, as well as the decision on Armenians.

The recent events:

Erdogan government has made certain constitutional reforms notably providing for election of the president of the republic directly by the people. The government is aware of the fact that if the president has to be elected directly by the people, the chances of an armed forces loyalist secular candidate are very slim and that the armed forces regard the position of the president of the republic as a vital post. Also, it is not just the president’s election; the constitutional reforms planned by the government are far more exhaustive.

The army considers such a situation as grave, because its ability to change governments through armed coups has considerably been diminished, because America and the government has promoted campaigns of democracy and of rejecting of coups, and the current debates revolve around topics such as the European Union, freedoms and human rights ... These have helped to make conditions non conducive to military takeovers or at least reduced the chances of their success. We can say that since the ability of the army has been greatly reduced, therefore the army deliberately resorts to disruptive activities like explosions etc. and is currently trying to take the initiative against the Kurdistan Workers Party.

It is in this context that the recent murders of 12 persons, followed by killing of 13 and, finally, the 21st October witnessed killing of another 17, injuring 16 and the abduction of 10 persons. A keen observer of these would indeed not miss the hand of the armed forces behind the occurrence of these events and would know off hand that these were designed to escalate security chaos and intervene militarily:

In the first incident, shots were fired using automatic weapons on a minibus carrying a number of village guards and their families and had resulted in the killing 12 persons. The surprising point is that these guards were roaming unarmed, although they are not expected to be unarmed but to be carrying arms whenever they venture out. This clearly suggested that those who gave them orders to go unarmed were planning to kill these guards!

The second incident very similar in terms of pattern occurred shortly after the first and in the same region :( Chernak City), killing 13 soldiers. Again the surprising thing is that although the military men do not move without protection gears and combat equipment, but in this incident they were all unarmed and susceptible in the open unsecured area, which led to deaths all of the convoy while none of the assailants were harmed!

The third incident was also on identical pattern and took place in the city of Hakari on the morning of 21st October. In this a convoy of 40 forty soldiers were travelling together and were also exposed without protection. This convoy was similarly targeted killing 17 men, injuring 16 while the rest were abducted!

In all these incidents, it was evident that these were planned and executed with the aim of creating chaos in order to achieve three objectives: To make the government refrain from carrying our its critical constitutional reforms; to embarrass the government by confronting the PKK militarily in American-occupied Iraq and its resulting effect on the relations between the Turkish government and America; and finally to project the Turkish government before the people that this government does not respect Turkish lives and blood for the sake of its relations with the US!

Thus the army began to escalate a crisis, and this was expected to be an order to the government rather than seeking its endorsement. But the government turned this issue from a military matter to a political one and presented it to the Parliament, which approved the resolution and left the timing of its actual execution to the government’s discretion! And active talks were held with the neighboring countries ... Finally Erdogan's visit to Washington next month is expected to finalise the guidelines for handling of the crisis.

It can be said that the momentum of the bombing action of military has been preempted through shrewd political action by the government, which has resorted to make arrangements with the United States and agreed with Iraq to carry out a limited action against specific targets instead of the full-blown military action proposed by the Turkish armed forces. This success of the government without resorting to total military action inside Iraq has saved the government from any embarrassment and the military can no longer blame the Turkish government of being indifferent to the safety of Turkish lives.

To Conclude:

1 – The pro-British army is no longer able to use military coups case in the past, and is therefore trying to destabilise the government of the ruling Justice party which is pro-US by escalating a military crisis by using a faction of the PKK. This is aimed at creating a series of crises for the government both internally, by showing that the government is indifferent to Turkish armed forces casualties at the hand of Kurds and also by expanding the scope of terrorism to cover the PKK activities, as well as externally particularly to embarrass America and the Turkish government and thus force them to abandon their plan of carrying out critical constitutional reforms that seek to undermine the role of the armed forces in Turkey’s governance.

2-The current military crisis with the PKK is to be seen in this context, the government has been able to convert the conflict from a military level to a political issue and presenting it to the parliament to seek a democratic approval and discussing the issue with the neighbours. The armed forces’ proposal has thus lost its offensive and momentum.

3-Both, the Americans as well as the government of Turkey are aware of the Turkish armed forces trap, and Erdogan's visit to Washington at the beginning of next month is widely expected to draw the appropriate plans to preempt the army’s proposed attack and not let the armed forces have the comfort of embarrassing the government before the people.

4-It is expected that as a result of this visit, the Iraqi government will agree and assure Turkey to handover some of the wanted Kurdish men, allow border patrolling by multi-national forces and a declaration by the Kurdistan Workers Party to handover its weapons. On its part, the Turkish government may assure that a limited military strike in the Kurd territory will not disturb the current security situation of the occupied northern Iraq. This arrangement will demonstrate to the Turkish people that its government does not compromise on the lives and blood of its armed forces and it does not compromises with terrorism either. This will be a victory for the government, though a fake one!

Simultaneously, it will also prevent the army from its efforts at embarrassing the government or even toppling it.

However, the confrontation will continue between the army and the government until one of them comes to dominate, as power does not run on two parallel and rival shoulders for long- one has to cede sooner or later.

5 - The armed forces were the effective and dominating power in the past both politically and militarily, and therefore it was able to change governments whenever it even came close to violating the sacrosanct or whenever the army smelt danger. However in the present changed realities, the armed forces have to be content with exploding crisis to weaken unwanted governments. In case the current crisis fails to bring the desired results, the armed forces will not sit quiet, but will use any appropriate opportunity and try to reclaim the initiative once again.

Thus the conflict is being controlled and managed by major external powers in connivance with internal forces, the sheer physical strength and political clout of the conflicting parties will decide on who eventually controls the country during its tumultuous course. It is unlikely in the foreseeable future that only one force will control the reigns of this ship in the hurricane. Therefore, the crisis will keep pace with the strength of the rival parties.

Regarding the question on the decision of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of the American Congress, it knows the events of 1915 genocide of Armenians. It is true that timing of this crisis precipitated by the Turkish army is to embarrass the government and the US which occupies Iraq. It is true that this decision has come at an inopportune time for the Turkish government. But a scrutiny shows that:

1-It is well known in the Western countries especially the US that its Democratic and Republican politicians indulge in harassment of each other from the second half of the third year of the presidency in anticipation of the oncoming elections. They try to create all sorts of hurdles and even scandals against their rivals deliberately and thus exploit everything they can to embarrass the other party. A clear example is the Democrats’ Iraq policy. They chide the Republicans in the House of Representatives over it, yet if they were themselves been in power, their own conduct would have been no different in principle.
Thus, the political agenda is set by the electoral calendar in the year-and-a-half preceding the presidential polls.

2 – We need to remember that this act was promised by Pelosi the Armenian lobby on the eve of the recent elections to the US Congress.

3-This resolution is contrary to American foreign policy and therefore has prompted all the former American secretaries of state to draft a letter speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi urging her not to take up the resolution. In fact this inconsistency is most evident with the policies of the Neo-Conservatives (the Bush administration). Bush, during his speech on this matter, which was delivered on 24th April last, the day which marks the anniversary of the so-called "Armenian genocide", wherein he did not describe the event as "genocide", he rather chose to describe it as simply “annihilation”, because from the perspective of the Neo-Conservatives, the term "genocide" must remain exclusively for Jews.

The concept of "genocide" was first coined during World War II by an advisor to the American Defense Service Advisor who was of Polish origin. The Republican conservatives and the Jews refuse to its usage to describe others and scrupulously keep its usage for Jews exclusively. All other massacres are described as "crimes against humanity" or destructive incidents etc.

5-Finally, the resolution is non-binding, requires presidential ratification by Bush, and it has no legal ramifications. Also, though Pelosi had stated during the presentation of the draft resolution to the Committee that it will quickly forward the resolution after its adoption by the Committee to Senate, has now stated that it will go to the Senate only in mid-November.
Pelosi certainly seems to be focusing at electoral aspect before anything else: to please the Armenians to whom she had promised during the recent congressional elections, and also to embarrass the Bush administration as well as the Turkish government, just as she has embarrassed the Republicans on the Iraq issue by creating crises and weakening the chances of the Republican Party during the polls.

Yet despite all this, it is not expected to affect Turkish American relations or put them to test. Disagreements between the two governments are dominated by the friendly flavour and such embarrassments or crises do not spoil the friendship issue between them!

18th Shawwal 1428 A.H
29th October, 2007 C.E

Arabic source: Website of Sheikh Ata Abu Rashta

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