Since Friday, the Turkish Armed Forces have stepped up cross-border operations, with ground forces entering Northern Iraq. In combined air and ground strikes, the army is hoping to destroy the bases of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Violence breeds violence 

The pro-Kurdish Firat News Agency has cited the “Kurdish youth organisation” Komalên Ciwan as calling on young Kurds to “turn Turkish metropoles into hell” in reaction to the cross-border operations.

Politicians of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) have reacted both to the military operations and the Kurdish call to violence.

Osman Özcelik, DTP MP for Siirt in the southeast of Turkey, said:

“We find it wrong to bring violence to the cities after these operations. There is such a danger, and we do not approve. But if you push a cat into a corner, it will scratch you. Violence breeds violence. We believe that democratic, peaceful, civilian protests can stop the war.”

Özcelik: Operations in the past have not solved anything 

In October 2007, the DTP opposed the bill in parliament which gave permission for cross-border operations. Özcelik said: “Many operations have been carried out in the past, and we said that they did not bring any results. Social problems cannot be solved with violence. The Kurdish issue in Turkey could be solved with our formula of democratic autonomy.”

“The violence is daily decreasing the sense of citizenship and sense of belonging which Kurds feel, although they are a part of this country. In Kosovo, there are 35,000 Turks, and Turkish has been declared the third official language. Our Prime Minister does not even acknowledge the existence of Kurds or the Kurdish language.”

Birdal: Pluralist constitution is the solution

Akin Birdal, DTP MP for Diyarbakir in the southeast of Turkey, also warned against bringing violence to the cities:

“Nothing that will lead to violence and provocations should be tried. The only option should be looking for a democratic solution because we have to live together. A democratic constitution which offers compromise and a pluralist understanding in which every section of society sees itself reflected is the solution to the problem.”

Operations a smokescreen for domestic issues

Birdal also spoke out against the military operations, calling them “a violation of international law”:

“Operations injure the hope for and expectation of peaceful coexistence of peoples. They extend Turkey’s basic problems and manipulate them. […] These operations are aimed at hiding Turkey’s realities, such as the social security law, the privatisation of the Tekel factory, the deaths in the Tuzla shipyards, Article 301 and the ultranationalist Ergenekon gang.”

Mainstream media is misleading the public

Meanwhile journalist and writer Tanju Akad has criticised the mainstream media for misinforming the public about the military operations.

Speaking to bianet, Akad said: “The media is not reporting. They are just talking about a few photographs. There is no real information about the operations, just a few photographs taken from a distance.”

Akad accuses the mainstream media of filtering information and misleading the public:

“The media have agreed on the expression ‘last convulsions’ when they speak about the PKK. You look a year later and see the same expression. First of all it needs to be acknowledged that the PKK problem will never disappear. There is no military or political solution for a problem which has been going on for 24 years. The media should not talk about an ‘end’.”

For Akad, the aim of the military operations is to prevent the PKK from making spring preparations. In order to reorganise, the PKK will have to withdraw. (NZ/EZÖ/TK/AG)

Ä°stanbul – Bıa news centre

Nilüfer ZENGIN
Emine ÖZCAN

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