By Edmond Y. Azadian
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan brought prosperity and prominence to his country. He moved Turkey to the world scene politically and he became a major player in world affairs.
Now, however, intoxicated by his domestic and international successes, he is gambling his reputation and achievements away by opening up a new front in the chaos of Middle Eastern politics.
In order to tone down the criticism of his allies and facilitate Turkey’s admission into the European Union, he engaged in a peace process with the Kurdish minority. He even took the unprecedented step of negotiating with the jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Oçalan. Believing that Erdogan’s initiative was sincere, the European Parliament, at one point considered removing the Kurdish PKK from the terrorist organizations’ list. However, Ankara successfully opposed the move.
The Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) is a genuine national liberation movement representing the aspirations of the Kurdish people. But if such movements run counter to the interests of powerful nations, their governments have the means to label the movement anything they wish and begin to demonize it. Certainly, the pliant news media will catch up and continue demonizing the movement.
Erdogan’s ploy was to blunt the criticism of his allies and to realign political powers domestically. During the recent parliamentary elections, he allowed Kurdish parties to participate, all along hoping — and actually undermining them to keep them below the 10-percent minimum requirement, to save face and emerge victorious. Contrary to his intentions and machinations, the Kurdish party, People’s Democratic Party (HDP), garnered 12 percent and his AKP party suffered a setback.