As its National Pride is Wounded, Turkey Invariably Points the Finger at the Iraqi Kurds

Turkish military and political leaders squarely accused the Iraqi Kurds of having an indirect hand in the latest deadly showdown between PKK rebels, reportedly resulting in the death of 15 Turkish soldiers and 23 Kurdish rebels, and countless wounded.

Perhaps, it was the daring nature of the daytime attack near the border that shocked the Turkish hierarchy, pressing them into a customary strong-worded rhetoric. The strong and respected Turkish army, as the protectorate of the republic and the symbol of Turkish nationalism, have since the inception of Kemalist-ideology, posed an almost mystical identity. The idea of such a flagrant attack by the much-loathed rebels was bound to rattle sentiments across Turkey.

However, as much as Turkey would hate to believe, let alone acknowledge, even the mystical might of the Turkish army has simply not been enough to counter an equally vibrant nationalist movement. The analogy is of a ferocious lion been bitten in broad daylight, by a much smaller-cat, who in the knowledge of been unable to ever directly counter such a beast, will nevertheless aim to strike psychological ‘bites’ to the proud animal rather than ever serve it any great physical damage.

This attack, along with those of the past has done just that. They have hurt Turkish pride and stoked national sentiments, forcing Turkey to take decisive action as in the mass-invasion of this year, designed to send unwavering intent that the lion will fight back to uphold its honour and eminence, than belief they can kill the nemesis cat in the midst of a torrential landscape.

As mass funerals and patriotic outcries highlight the death of every Turkish soldier, thousands of Kurdish deaths, the ‘debris’ of the greater nationalist-project, are ignored. Insurgent and violent means of gaining goals, least of all terrorist acts, belong in the bygone era and are ultimately counter-productive and a prelude to tarnishing what may essentially be a justifiable cause. However, let’s not forget that there is a mourning mother on each side.

While, it is simply untrue to allege such direct Iraqi Kurdish support such as to provide weapons, roads and hospitals, undeniably as the crisis grows and Turkey takes more abrasive action, it is slowly submerging Iraqi Kurdish sentiments into the conflict. The Iraqi Kurds rely heavily on Turkey, and in the modern era maintaining strong relationship with a monumental European neighbour has been much more important than aiding and abetting their ethnic-brethren in a violent battle that the Iraqi Kurds would do well to avoid.

It is true the Iraqi Kurds could do more. But in the eyes of Turkey, this ‘more’ is a deadly inconclusive inter-ethnic confrontation with the PKK, resulting in mass-suffering for the local population and destabilisation of the region. And for what? In order that Turkey will continue to treat the Kurdistan Regional Government with disrespect and utter discontent, let alone the simple virtue of acknowledgment and direct dialogue?

The time for realism has never been greater in the back of this latest shockwave across the region. On the eve of Turkish parliamentary vote to extend the 1-year authorisation for cross-border attacks, this attack was clearly designed to ensure that Turkey will not only authorise another extension but take graver disproportionate measures against their foes.

And this is exactly the focus and attention that not only the PKK craves, but it decisively needs to survive as a movement. As Turkey will feel forced to take more abrasive measures, this will eventually evoke a broader regional conflict that will serve no sides, but the sides of violence and bloodshed.

Turkey must act at the root of problems. Rather than addressing how to shoot down rebels in mountains, Turkey could seek ways of seeing them come down at their own will.

Promises of greater south-eastern development and more encompassing reforms, may have been more than encouraging compared to past records, but in the context of today have been beset without any significant action.

Now is the time to stop further blood-shed and promote a feeling of brother-hood in Turkey. Lets not let forgot there are millions of disgruntled Kurds in Turkey, and only a minority in arms. Not all Kurds believe in confrontation, not all Kurds rejoice at Turkish deaths. The people want jobs, peace and prosperity – they have long-chosen Turkey and the prospects of the EU over unrealistic daydreams.

First Published On: Kurdish Globe

Other Publication Sources: eKurd, Peyamner, Various Misc.

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