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Raging war with Kurds, escalating water conflict with Arabs drain Turkey’s resources

By Appo Jabarian
Executive Publisher/Managing Editor
USA Armenian Life Magazine

In 1922, Ottoman Turkey’s successor Young Turk regime underwent a face-lift through the creation of the modern republic of Turkey in an attempt to create a “fresh start.” But that “fresh” start failed to yield sustainable peace both within what is now called Turkey, and in its relations with neighbors.

Peace proved elusive because of Ankara’s long-unsolved problems including ongoing war against the 23 million-strong Kurdish minority; and water rights conflicts with Arab states such as Iraq and Syria.

As the June 12 general elections near, The Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) is used by Ankara “as an excuse to circumvent Kurdish people’s … liberties, a tactic that has become the hallmark of the AKP and [Turkish scholar Fethullah Gülen’s loyalists -- namely Erdogan’s] Gulenist Administration in Turkey. The Turkish government and the AKP’s agents improperly and illegally have used the PKK and the War on Terror as an excuse to imprison many Kurdish intellectuals, politicians, and writers, and to defame them for the purpose of becoming the dominant power in the Southeastern part of the country. Otherwise, the AKP and the Gulenist agents cannot be successful without slandering and intimidating the Kurdish leaders and people. This kind of game has been played against the Kurds for decades and continues to be played,” wrote Dr. Aland Mizell on Kurdishaspect.com.

Turkey’s brand of “democracy” is funded “by and for the State. … Democracy in Turkey is hypocrisy” that knows no boundary. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) “wants to have political control in Diyarbakir in order to bring its version of ‘peace’ to the region and constantly reject the Kurdish political leaders’ proposals.”

“Turkey has been dancing with the Kurds for more than three decades. They are not genuinely trying to solve the Kurdish problems. … The AKP and Gulenists know the military and Turkish state conducted a dirty war in the Kurdish regions and did not want the problem to end, because the generals were making big money,” lamented Mizell.

It is no secret that AKP and its allies are an integral part of the Turkish Deep State. They regularly refuse to investigate unsolved political murders committed during the 1990’s against Kurds, maintaining adamant silence regarding clandestine disappearance of Kurdish civilians.

Fears of a fresh escalation in Turkish-Kurdish war substantially grew a few days after suspected Kurdish rebels attacked the election convoy of Erdogan. The attack began when a hand grenade was thrown at one of the police cars escorting the prime minister’s bus. That was followed by fire from assault rifles. One police vehicle caught fire when its petrol tank was hit. Police returned fire, but the attackers, said to number about five or six, escaped into the forest. A search operation by police and the military failed to produce any arrests, noted Reuters news agency.

Kurds regularly hold Erdogan “responsible for this war” between Turkey and Kurds, and its practice of “police terror” against unarmed political activists.

The Kurds have detected a “push-pull” game or “good cop-bad cop” politics played by Erdogan’s AKP and Turkish nationalists. The “good cop” Erdogan finally unmasked himself by vehemently declaring that “These separatist forces think they can get this way what they cannot get at the ballot box. … We will not allow anyone to split up this nation’s 780,000 square kilometers.”

As a result, Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of Turkey’s main Kurdish rebel group has warned his forces will unleash a “big war” after national elections if Turkey refuses to negotiate to end the decades-old conflict, reported The Associated Press.

Ankara has grown wary of the fact that the PKK has now began launching military operations in the Black Sea region — several hundred kilometers west of its normal area of operation.

Murat Yetkin, a columnist with the Radikal newspaper, wrote: “PKK militants are now ready to strike … anywhere in Turkey. This is a serious situation.”

The Kurdish activists of Turkey’s Southeast have long been suspected by Ankara of receiving financial backing from the oil-rich Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq’s north.

Turkey’s worse nightmare about the Kurds’ increased economic power and resulting war-making capability has become a reality ever since Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government began receiving revenues from its oil productions. These revenues regularly flowing into Kurdistan’s coffers bode badly for the Turkish hardliners.

Recently, Iraq’s self-ruled northern Kurdish region has received the first payment from the central government in Baghdad for oil exported from its region.

The payment amounted to nearly half of the $243 million in revenues generated from exporting over 5 million barrels between February and March 27.

Adding to Erdogan’s and Turkish Deep State’s woes, lately the relations with Iraq and Syria have soured over the water rights of the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers because of Turkey’s mismanagement of these resources. An increasing number of dams, hydroelectric power plants and irrigation projects have been constructed within the context of the Southeast Anatolia Project (GAP) supposedly to harness the energy of Turkey’s water resources. But in reality Turkey is seeking to sell the waters.

Several critics of GAP say “the more Turkey utilizes these rivers, the less water there is to flow to the downstream riparian states of Syria and Iraq.” UN Representative and NGO worker Imane Abd El Al was not optimistic about a Turkish proposal to export dammed water from Turkey to Iraqi and Syrian farmers in exchange for oil or money. “We’re talking about Mesopotamia here.” Importing water to the “cradle of civilization”, she argued, is absurd, as is the idea of treating water as a commodity rather than a right.”

As the Arab Spring escalates, Ankara fears the triggering of a Turkish Simmering Summer undermining the already-shaky relations with its Arab neighbors.

It seems all too inevitable that the war with the Kurds will rage on; and the water conflict with Arab states — Iraq and Syria will further escalate draining Turkey’s economic, military and political resources.

Source : USA Armenian Life Magazine, 13 May 2011

Added: Friday, May 20, 2011
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