How would you like your PKK?

If the truth is circumvented or sterilized, finding a solution to a problem that is being carried along since almost a century will be harder if not impossible to reach. Politics is one thing, law is something else, political science is another and history is yet another.

PKK is a terrorist organization. Full stop. Or this is the predominant narrative. The narrative that is dominated by the government. True or not, any domination should be challenged and questioned in order to better understand the truth. That is, if the truth is what one is after. If the truth is circumvented or sterilized, finding a solution to a problem that is being carried along since almost a century will be harder if not impossible to reach. Politics is one thing, law is something else, political science is another and history is yet another. 

Ergo, let’s try again: PKK is a terrorist organization. True or false? True. For the EU, for the U.S. and first and foremost for my own home country Turkey, PKK is an outlawed terror network. Now, let us re-formulate the same truth. PKK is a terrorist organization but not only that: PKK can also be described as a political organization resorting to violence. Or, the monopoly of violence must belong to the state and to the state only. In other words, a description can be of interest to me or to other observers, yet for the lawmaker and the law enforcer will, by default, be of secondary importance.

If I steal a loaf of bread, get caught red-handed, arrested and then appear in court and claim that “my children were hungry” and if I hadn’t broken the law previously not even once, from the judge’s point of view, I would not be considered as the same as a seasoned bank robber caught in the midst of a spectacular Hollywood style heist. Whereas, if I steal the same loaf of bread to feed a terrorist, then I will be considered a terrorist myself even if I wasn’t aware of the fact that the person I fed was considered a terrorist by the authorities. That is the purpose of anti-terror laws: To make an example of people, in this imaginary theft case, like me and firmly deter others not to get involved in terrorist activities. The bigger and murkier the definition of terrorist activity, the better.  

OIR CJTF commander Lt.Gen. White, in his briefing to the press says: “Our plan remains to focus on enabling the partner force to defeat Daesh, and we do that in a number of ways. Part of it is mentoring. Some of it, as I mentioned in my opening statement, is divesting equipment to those partner forces. And then finally, it is, as required, we do provide enabling support, such as intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft and strike aircraft at need.” Tiptoeing on empty eggshells, the general chooses his words better than any diplomat in business.

Still, for any prosecutor with a sober mind and a modicum of English language knowledge, Lt.Gen. White’s statement to the press, if one is willing remain loyal to the letter and the spirit of the law, should be translated as follows: “U.S. officially partners with PKK in northern Syria not only by training and arming them, but also by providing air support to them whenever it sees fit.” Now, this sounds preposterous, isn’t it? There is and will be no case to be brought against Lt.Gen. White. There is even a chance that he would probably stand all smiles shoulder to shoulder with (ret.) general Akar who presently happens to be Turkey’s Minister of Defence. After all, Turkey and the U.S. are NATO allies and strategic partners.

Rather unfortunately, the likes of the esteemed civil society activist Mr. Osman Kavala who is in jail since 922 days (on May 10) does not enjoy the same kind immunity and privileges as the likes of the US commander in question. If one happens to willingly or unwillingly “help” those nefarious activities and even if one is not a member of a terrorist organization, one is taken under custody and by measure of precaution is kept in prison until the day one sees hopefully the judge in court and then again one is sent back to prison for the rest of the endless trials. Even if one is somewhat freed then one is still sent back to prison as a new indictment will be concocted in no time to keep one in jail indefinitely.

The opposition’s self-styled “democracy alliance’s” junior partner İYİ Party chair Ms. Akşener solemnly declared that she too considers HDP as a direct extension of the PKK. By the same token, we “know” that YPG/YPJ and even the SDF that, et al. Lt.Gen. White referred to as “the partner force”, are as well “direct extensions” of the PKK. But wait, HDP got around six millions of vote in the last elections and currently has the third largest group in the parliament. HDP also won by highest margins the local elections in the southeast. “HDP” literally translates “peoples’ democratic party” and even it can be criticised for various shortcomings it stands firmly against any form of racism: Then why is it almost always labelled as “pro-Kurdish”?

In Turkish we say “Ali’s hat to Veli and Veli’s to Ali” to describe futile repetitive intrigues. Hence, I willingly leave the task of diplomatic window-dressing and shimmying to the likes of Ambassador Jeffrey. No, I do not pretend to get smart with anyone. One does not get any smarter after fifty years of age anyhow. But I wish to get more and in a better way sincere. As a citizen of the Republic of Turkey my priority is to help seek and provide a legal and political solution to the conflict that is older than me and not to leave a burdensome legacy to my 12 years old daughter. As Billy Joel once said: “If you look for truthfulness, you might as well be blind: It always seems to be so hard to give.”

EUCOM sympathizes with Turkey’s -lone in NATO- “counterinsurgency” efforts. CENTCOM partners with PKK extension terrorist networks in Syria. State Department is happy to see Turkish Armed Forces dig their heels in Idleb to deny Russia and Assad a clear victory, while keeping the oil and wheat away from their reach. I am quite curious to know but have no idea whatsoever of what Ms. Haspel has in her mind as she is to my knowledge the first CIA director to rise from the DO ranks and also the first one to speak Turkish fluently. The Turkish government regressed to nineties by writing in giant stone letters “HOW HAPPY IS THE ONE WHO SAYS I AM A TURK” to the mountain slopes in Pülümür (Dersim). There is neither a biography of the founder of the republic Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938) nor a study on PKK (active since 1984) of any scientific value written by a Turkish citizen to date. 

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