By Edmond Y. Azadian
The war in Syria is escalating rapidly because of Turkey’s miscalculation as well as cunning.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey was cornered because of his domestic policies and because of his plans to solve the Kurdish problem through “democratic means.” To achieve that goal, he engaged in negotiations with the leadership of the militant wing of Kurdish opposition, the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) and personally with the jailed leader of that organization, Abdullah Ocalan. Not only were restrictions on the Kurdish minority relaxed, but the Kurds were allowed to openly participate in the parliamentary elections and as a result won 13 percent of the votes, to send 80 members to the parliament.
Selahattin Demirtas, the leader of the left-leaning Kurdish party, People Democratic Party (HDP), played a constructive role in the peace negotiations, which helped his personal popularity soar in Turkey.
When Ocalan ordered PKK militants to lay down their arms, many among the Kurds and outside observers were skeptical about the real intentions of the Erdogan government. Since the establishment of the Turkish Republic, the country has experienced several periods of freedom and relaxation of repression, only to be followed by military takeovers or bloody persecutions.