Turkey: Kurds Voting For Christmas?

Despite having read mountains (appropriately) of reporting on the Turkish-Kurdish-Iraqi crisis, I haven’t read anyone who has tried to answer the big question – why do the PKK seem to be doing everything possible to provoke the Turks into invading Iraq after them?

You’d think this was a pretty vital issue; who wants to be blitzed, after all? Fortunately, Handelsblatt does journalism; Gerd Hoehler reviews the history of the Kurdish movement and concludes that the PKK does indeed want Turkey to hit me as hard as you can. Why? It would set Turkey’s relations with essentially everyone in a state of chaos, it would probably upend the Turkish economy, and it would outrage the Turkish Kurds, to say nothing of all the others.

But it probably wouldn’t achieve strategic-level damage to the PKK; however, Turkey’s slow progress towards the EU and its (much faster) economic development have threatened to do so. The AK got an absolute majority of votes in most of Kurdistan at the last elections. So, the PKK needs an explosion; something that would reverse EU integration, wreck the economy, and whip everyone into a frenzy of rage.

Fortunately, as when this happened in 2003 and 2005, the Turkish government has been very good at moving towards war very slowly indeed and with immense ceremony; thus allowing the pressure to build for a resolution without an actual war. Hoehler, however, reports on a worrying degree of war fever – there’s been a surge of volunteers for the Turkish army, 4,200 in a week, and people are stopping cars on the highway with guns to make the drivers join in singing war songs. That has a nasty sound of August, 1914 about it; this would not be a good moment for losing control.

4 thoughts on “Turkey: Kurds Voting For Christmas?

  1. Pingback: www.christmasforallofus.info » Turkey: Kurds Voting For Christmas?

  2. If I was a PKKer I might look at Israel’s incursion into Lebanon and note how an increasingly irrelevant cause suddenly (re)gained both credability and sympathy. However, given the fact that the north of Iraq is doing really quite well at the moment, this might not be enough to divert Iraqi Kurd sentiment away from the optimism they seem to have discovered.

    Indeed, if Turkey were to boost growth in their own Kurdish region on the back of the Iraqis’, they could go along way toward increasing the irrelevance of the PKK forcing the freedom fighters to either politicise their activities or to go home and become builders.

  3. Alex, yours is the primary point — why is the PKK doing this? But one might also ask why the Iraqi Kurds themselves don’t rein in the PKK since if the Turks invade there is bound to be a knock-on impact of instability through the region. One hopes but cannot rely on Turkish restraint.

    In any case, I wanted to compliment the site. I advertised on it last week for my new book and want to thank you for the space.

    Steve LeVine, author
    The Oil and the Glory (Random House)
    http://www.oilandglory.com

  4. LET THE TURKISH ARMY DETROY ALL THE INSURGENTS WHERE EVER THEY ARE AND RETURN HOME AND HELP IN THE REBUILDING OF THE EASTERN PART WHERE MOSTLT TURKISH-KURDS LIVE. IF THE KURDS STILL ASK FOR OUR BLOOD WITHOUT A REASON, JUST CAPTURE THEM AND EITHER DEPORT THEM SOMEWHERE FROM WHERE THEY CANNOT RETURN OR JUST HANG THE BLOODY BASTARDS LIKE THE ORANIANS DO.

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