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Turkey: Erdogan's three wars

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Kurdish separatists are singled out in the death of six members of the security forces in Turkey, facing war in Syria and the threat of Daech. The policy of President Erdogan is questioned in this degradation.

Once considered a transition model for authoritarian Muslim countries in transition, Erdogan's Turkey seems to strive to destroy this image, both in its domestic policy choices that foreign policy. In full "poutinisation" President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged on several fronts, seems ready to undermine the stability of his country to stay in power. Update on the three main areas of tension.

1. The war against the organization Islamic State

Since the announcement by Ankara of its commitment to the fight against EI organization, following the attack in Suruç, which killed 28 people on July 20, only three have been officially reported raids against the Islamic state organization, while the army has stepped up attacks against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Iraq against Kurdish activists in Turkey. Ankara announced last Wednesday the immediate launch of a "large fight" against Daech. But at this stage, apart from the opening of the Incirlik airbase to allow the coalition led by the United States to hit the jihadists in Syria, and a somewhat finicky controls on crossings of jihadists to the neighboring country , the fulfillment of this commitment is pending. Many denounced the passivity or complicity of Turkey with the jihadists. "Officially, the Turkish authorities are justified in claiming that the United States has asked them to coordinate their action in advance with the international coalition before making strikes against Daech" said Jean Marcou, a professor at Science Po Grenoble, specialist Turkey. Erdogan sees the EI a minor threat to that posed by the Kurds. "It remains a proportion of increasingly broad sectors of opinion in Turkey, despite the speeches of leaders, considers the threat of Daech as more serious than that of the PKK, including within the AKP supporters."


Turkey: Erdogan's three wars



Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Reuters / Harun Ukar


2. The war against PKK

It seems a long time since Erdogan was hailed as the first Turkish leader to have started peace negotiations with the Kurds, in order to end a conflict responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people in 30 years. The AKP was the first party in power to recognize the legitimacy of the Kurdish question and to grant cultural rights to this important minority (15 to 20% of the population). But since the Syrian crisis, the situation has changed. Ankara is concerned about the formation of an autonomous Kurdish region in Syria, along the border, under the PYD, Syrian outgrowth of the PKK. With the consolidation of the autonomy of the Iraqi Kurds, strengthening of Kurdish power in Syria could boost separatist ambitions of Turkey's Kurds. This is one of the reasons that led Ankara to undertake this "war against terrorism" which essentially attacks targeted the PKK based in Iraq. At least 390 Kurdish rebels were killed and 400 others injured in two weeks of raids of the Turkish Air Force in northern Iraq, according to the government agency Anatolia.

The desire to Ankara for battle was echoed in the PKK, a terrorist organization consistently ranked by most Western countries, even if they are partly based on its Peshmerga to face Daech in Iraq and Syria. The PKK has carried out several attacks against Turkish security forces, "reprisals", in his words, to the bombing of Suruç. More than two dozen Turkish soldiers or policemen were killed since the outbreak of this new cycle of violence. "Since late 2012, the negotiation process has stalled, says Jean Marcou. It passed into the background with the mobilization of the Gezi Park, corruption scandals, the fight against Erdogan and the Gülen brotherhood elections , which gave free rein to the most radical branches of the organization. " The PKK has always sought to hide its internal divisions behind the tutelary figure of Abdullah Ocalan. But they persist.

3. The war against HDP

Most observers saw in triggering the "fight against terrorism", a trap to Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas, considered the political wing of the PKK. This one has been able to expand its base in the parliamentary elections on 7 June. With 13% of votes and 80 MPs, he managed to deprive the AKP (Islamic-conservative) Erdogan absolute majority it held for 13 years.


Turkey: Erdogan's three wars



Selahattin Demirtas, leader of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (HDP), July 28, 2015 in Ankara

afp.com/ADEM ALTAN




The formation of a coalition government before the deadline of 23 August seems highly unlikely, given the demands made by Erdogan, on one side, and two potential partners, the Kemalist CHP and nationalist MHP. New elections should be convened in the fall, and Erdogan is suspected to sound the bugle to strengthen cohesion around the father figure of the savior of the country: by raising tensions with the Kurds, it would cause among voters Turkish rejection of HDP in the hope that his party gets an absolute majority. Selahettin Demirtas, condemning the attacks against the armed forces and calling on the PKK to "remove your finger from the trigger" and to respect the cease-fire "with the Turkish state," shows that he is a politician Turkey responsible, "according to Jean Marcou." He seems to say "I'm trying to ease tensions, while others blow on the embers for personal gain."

"The electoral successes repeatedly Erdogan were partly related to the strong economic growth of the beginnings of the AKP," adds the researcher. But growth fell from over 8% in 2011 to 2% since 2012. "The exit polls of polls, he adds, in the parliamentary in June, showed that the Turks were concerned about the decline . Another concern, the war in neighboring Syria, including the influx of refugees (around two million) is one of the consequences. "The Turks are very concerned about the risks to gear the economy of their countries, adds Jean Marcou. A fringe each day of the most important opinion Judge Recep Tayyip Erdogan personally responsible for the degradation of the current climate. The Kemalists have also made concessions to the formation of a coalition in order, in case of failure, to shift the responsibility to the president. They hinted that they could agree with the Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. "Erdogan's strategy is not without risk to his political future."

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