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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Erdogan tombe le masque et désigne son ennemi : les Kurdes

by Pierre Barbancey

Erdogan Drops His Mask and Designates His Enemy: The Kurds

Translated Thursday 30 July 2015, by Henry Crapo

Statements by Turkish officials against the Kurds are multiplying. The bases of the PKK are bombarded, as well as areas where Syrian Kurdish forces, the YPG, are located. NATO supports Ankara. Francois Hollande wants to strengthen his cooperation with Turkey.

If some had doubts about the real aims of Ankara, Turkish President Recep Erdogan, has just removed those doubts. Since the suicide attack that caused 32 deaths on July 20 in Suruç, Turkey has pretended that she decided to go to war against the organization of the "Islamic State" ("ISIS" or Daech). But many questions arise concerning this pretense concerning their aims.

While some bombardement of jihadist sites indeed took place - yet nobody knows exactly what were the results - in fact it turns out that Turkish efforts are focused on repression against the Kurdish forces of Turkey, the PKK, and also against those in Syria, since the positions of YPG (those who successfully defended against Kobanî against the "ISIS") were shelled by Turkish tanks, killing several people.

Under the pretext of the attack in Suruç

The political maneuver is gross but clever. Initially, under the pretext of the attack in Suruç, the Ankara government approached Washington by announcing raids on bases of "ISIS", then initiate a dialogue for the use of its air bases by the US coalition, and talks about the creation of a zone free of the "Islamic State" (and therefore not under Kurdish control).

When the operations commence, they do not touch only the "ISIS", but it appears that the targets are rather the militants and fighters of the PKK and Turkish left-wing activists, persecuted and imprisoned in a large scale police operation, which we wonder why it had not occurred earlier against jihadist cells. By drawing an equal-sign between the cut-throats of the "Islamic State" and the PKK fighters and YPG, who came to the rescue of endangered civilians (in Mosul as Kobanî), the Turkish government knows that it needs fear no criticism from its NATO allies. Especially since the United States, like the European Union (EU), have placed the PKK on their "terrorist lists", despite the truce decreed since 2013. On Twitter, Brett McGurk, who represents the White House within the anti-ISIS coalition, defended himself thus: "There is no link between air strikes against the PKK and the recent agreements aimed at intensifying US-Turkish cooperation against ’Islamic state’ ", he assured. But he felt obliged to add: "We fully respect the right of Turkey to self-defense."

Kurdish activists are prosecuted, imprisoned

On Monday, the Islamic-conservative Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu became more precise. "It’s either weapons or democracy, the two are not compatible," he has said. A strategy obviously supported by NATO. The Atlantic Alliance, meeting in emergency in Brussels at the request of Ankara, assured their Turkish ally solidarity in its dual offensive against Kurdish rebels and the "Islamic State" group. "All the allies have assured Turkey of their solidarity and firm support, repeated the secretary general of NATO, Norway’s Jens Stoltenberg, after the meeting of the ambassadors of 28 countries. "Terrorism poses a direct threat to NATO members’ security and to international stability and prosperity. Among his supporters, France obviously. François Hollande raised the subject with his Turkish counterpart of the fight "against all forms of terrorism" and expressed again his desire to "strengthen cooperation between France and Turkey in this field." We know what that means: Kurdish militants in France are prosecuted, imprisoned and brought to justice, while the henchmen of Turkish power act with impunity on our soil. In a whisper, Hollande said: "Be careful not to mistake the targets" (sic).

Which makes Erdogan happy. "It is impossible for us to continue the peace process with those who threaten our national unity," he said. He also advocated that politicians linked to "terrorist groups" be deprived of their immunity and prosecuted. A phrase that directly targets the pro-Kurdish opposition party HDP (Peoples Democratic Party), which has made inroads in the legislative elections last month.

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