Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The PKK and the Deep State

Yesterday's Today's Zaman ran a provocative interview with Kurdish intellectual Abdülmelik Firat, in which Firat claimed that no end would come to PKK violence until the deep state is completely exhausted. It has often been claimed that Öcalan's command over the PKK and influence of the DTP makes its way from Imralı island by way of messengers inside the Turkish state. The whole interview is quite polemical and well-worth the read. Here is an excerpt:
Do you think the Ergenekon [a deep state-linked criminal organization] operation in which police recently detained about 35 people was a start to cleaning up the deep state?

Retired Gen. Veli Küçük [who was jailed and seems to be the head of the organization] is not the mastermind of the Ergenekon organization. This is something we can understand just by reading the newspaper articles [on the issue].

When do you think the PKK could come to an end?

Unless the deep state has been exhausted, the PKK will survive. It is the deep state that supports PKK violence. I've always stood against PKK violence, but their violence has been created and nourished by the deep state. As long as the deep state is alive, the PKK will not vanish. If democracy prevails in Turkey, the PKK will be no more. It is not solely in Turkey but also throughout the world that people feel sympathy toward those who seem to be defending their rights against oppressors. Kurds have been suppressed for years. They have even been regarded as non-existent in the Turkish Republic.

What has the Turkish military offensive against the PKK in northern Iraq achieved?

It was a display of military strength. The operation cannot bring an end to the PKK. Even the US military cannot get out of the mess in Iraq. If Turkey insists on military measures, if Iranians and Arabs still try to impose restrictions on Kurds, Kurdish nationalism will be renewed. Kurds in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and even in the Caucasus are in the process of nationalistic unification.

Do you think the government will be able to realize social, cultural and political reforms concerning Turkey's Kurdish population?

It's not the government which is powerful, it's the deep state. The deep state is the one to decide whether or not there will be reforms. The government would like to adopt reforms, but the Turkish Gladio [deep state] within the state does not allow it. The AK Party [ruling Justice and Development Party] government may not be able to digest each democratic step but would like to adopt reforms pragmatically to make advancements in that regard.
For another interesting perspective on the deep state and the PKK, see Ümit Firat's October op/ed in Today's Zaman. This Firat claims that the deep state had a hand in provoking violence last fall, a charge that has since taken on additional weight as more becomes known about the Ergenekon investigation and their plans to heighten unrest throughout Turkey. To follow-up, see also an interview Firat gave TDZ. Serious claims by serious people indeed.

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