Tensions between Kurds and the Turkish state escalating rapidly

Continuing on from KB’s article below, it seems that the Turkish state’s conflict with its Kurdish minority will only further escalate over the coming months.

The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, or in Kurdish, Teyrênbazê Azadîya Kurdistan (TAK), have issued a warning to tourists wanting to travel to Turkey. Firat News Agency reported that TAK are threatening new attacks in touristic areas:

your holidays, entertainments return  guns, bullets, bombs to Kurdish people and cause deaths. All of holiday areas in Turkey are attack and revengeful areas for us. It is the time of action and we will not hesitate to do what is necessary.

TAK (Teyrênbazên Azadîya Kurdistan) warns holiday goers to stay away from from Turkey, a 'terror' country

TAK, emerged in 2004 and have carried out a number of attacks on legal and government institutions, personnel as well as tourist locations. They are considered a hard-line splinter group from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The group was last active in 2006 and has been mostly absent from the Turkish-Kurdish conflict scene since then.

As well as issuing the warning, TAK claimed responsibility for a roadside bomb attack in Istanbul on June 8th 2010 which left 15 Turkish soldiers injured, their first such attack since 2006.

The announcement by TAK indicates a worsening situation in Turkey. As KB has pointed indicated in the previous article, the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) and the Turkish PM Erdogan have recently taken a new harsh approach to the Kurdish minority. The arrest and trial of the peace group that returned from the Kurdistan region of Iraq, the arrest of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) members and the heightened Turkish military activity in the Kurdish regions of Turkey have all led to the end of the so called “Kurdish Opening” aimed at reconciliation with Turkey’s Kurds.

AKP’s harsh approach is most likely because they are trying to please the nationalist extremist elements of Turkish society to win more votes when national elections approach next year. Turkish media has reported that nationalist Turks viewed the return of the peace group from Iraqi Kurdistan as a victory for Kurds in conflict between PKK and the state. In fact Turkish media have also speculated that an early election may be announced sooner, in fall 2010.

But what effect is this having on average Kurds? Erdogan and the AKP have changed their approach towards the Kurdish issue alternating between harsh and reconciliatory attitudes, usually whenever an election is near. It says a lot about the state of Turkey as a country where the interests of nationalist Turks and Kurds, secularists and Islamists, conflict.

The AKP’s almost schizophrenic approach to the Kurdish question may lead to only a more radicalized Kurdish population disillusioned by the policies and discourse of the Turkish state, which one day offers the hand of peace, then the next day shuts down pro-Kurdish parties that many Kurds vote for.

TAK, coming back on the scene, is the product of this radicalization and the further the AKP, as well as Turkish nationalists, continue denying the reality of such groups as the consecutive pro-Kurdish parties, their politicians and even the PKK as real representatives of the Kurdish people in Turkey, the greater the divisions will become between Kurds and Turks.

SOURCES:

Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK) official website – Turkish language.

TAK issues warning to tourists going to Turkey – Firat News Agency, 17 June 2010.

Turkish military says Kurdish rebel attacks increasing – CNN, 18 June 2010.

The Big Question: Who is behind the bombings in Turkey, and what do they want? – The Independent, 30 August 2006.

15 wounded in attack in Turkey – Associated Press, 08 June 2010.

Attacks threaten unusual Turkish outreach to Kurds – Today’s Zaman, 16 June 2010.

AK Party signals snap elections under worst case scenario – Today’s Zaman, 18 June 2010.

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