Turkey’s hopes dented again in wake of Hakkari mine blast

Turkey’s hopes dented again in wake of Hakkari mine blast

 

AY?E KARABAT

While the nation’s morale received a huge boost following the wide acceptance of constitutional changes guaranteeing further rights and freedoms in Turkey and the unveiling of statistics indicating strong economic growth in the double digits last week, hopes were quickly dashed when a roadside bomb in Hakkari claimed the lives of nine civilians, sabotaging efforts to solve the Kurdish problem.
Though the identities of the perpetrators of the incident are not yet clear and details are murky at best, experts are pointing out that the blast was definitely a provocation aimed at rendering efforts at democratization in Turkey ineffective.
They also questioned the wisdom of cancelling a secret meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Çiçek and pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) leaders due to the terrorist attack. Nine people died and five others, including a 15-month-old baby, were injured on Thursday when a roadside mine exploded on a road near Geçitli village in the southeastern province of Hakkari.
Reports from the region say residents of Geçitli were village guards — paramilitary local forces armed by the state to fight the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). However, reports also say villagers obeyed a call from the outlawed PKK to boycott Sunday’s referendum. After the blast a brief scuffle broke out between Kurdish villagers and soldiers who arrived to investigate after some of the villagers allegedly refused to hand over a bag they had found. The bag was marked with the symbol of the Hakkari Mountain Commandos and there were two mines in it. There was speculation that the bags were forgotten there by military personnel who laid the mines, but others claimed that they were left there in order to frame the army.
The PKK-affiliated Roj TV, which broadcasts from abroad, ran a story presenting the roadside bombing as “state terrorism.” BDP Chairman Selahattin Demirta? said the attack gave the appearance of the involvement of “shadowy circles,” and demanded that the parliamentary Human Rights Investigation Committee investigate the attack.
Emin Aktar, the chairman of the Diyarbak?r Bar Association, said the blast in Hakkari is provocation and ferocity. “Whoever did it, the PKK, deep state or a joint operation, is trying to step up the violence. But society has to be aware of the fact that when attempts at a solution are on the agenda these kinds of provocations will take place more frequently. This is why there should be no stepping back,” he told Today’s Zaman.
Aktar will be chairing the group, which applied to a meeting with President Gül, on behalf of the Diyarbak?r Bar Association. When Aktar was questioned over whether the president will still meet with them after the blast, he answered: “I think so. As a matter of fact, especially now, after the attack it is exactly the right time for it.”
Öztürk Türkdo?an, the chairman of the Human Rights Association (?HD), recalled that Turkey is taking steps on the way to democracy and is also considered an important and influential country in world politics; however, there are some forces inside and outside of Turkey which do not want Turkey to become a powerful and democratic country:
“The questions which should be asked have not been put on the agenda. The army is very careful about all of its belongings, but forgets about two mines. Who lost them or who stole them in order to put them there? These and similar questions should be investigated seriously,” he asserted.
He also referred to the fact there are discussions about the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and claims that some world powers do not want it to rule over Turkey. Türkdo?an questioned the relationship between the incident in Hakkari and these claims, but added that under these conditions instead of canceling its meeting with BDP officials the government should continue its efforts.
“There are shady forces aboard and in Turkey that want violence in this country. If this is their aim, political forces should not obey their wishes and should do what is best in order to prevent provocateurs from accomplishing their goals,” he said, and added that he felt as if he was watching a movie which has been shown many times in this country.
Thirty-three unarmed soldiers were executed on the Bingöl-Elaz?? highway in 1993 while traveling to join their military units. Since then, there has been speculation that the soldiers were killed to prevent a solution to Turkey’s terrorism problem at a time when the government was involved in negotiations with now-jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and preparing to offer amnesty to members of the organization. The attack shelved the government’s plans for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question at the time.
?brahim Güçlü, a prominent Kurdish intellectual, also referred to the Bingöl event and explained that someone has to be cautious when commenting on the Hakkari blast.
“There are intensive efforts for a democratic and peaceful solution, which will eventually bring about the disarmament of the PKK. There are forces within the PKK that do not want to give up arms, and they are collaborating with the deep state,” he told Today’s Zaman.
The prosecutors working on the ongoing investigation into the Ergenekon network, which is allegedly aiming to overturn the government by creating chaos, mentioned the Bingöl event in their indictment.
Experts are also recall more recent, similar cases, such as one in Çukurca, Hakkari, in which another mine blast in May claimed the lives of seven soldiers. Shortly after the Çukurca blast, the Turkish military announced that the mine had been planted by the terrorist PKK. But further investigation later revealed that the mine belonged to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). The tragic truth of the incident was revealed by Van prosecutors who launched an investigation into the mine explosion of May 27, 2009, after a telephone conversation between two generals came to light indicating that the mines were planted by people who were responsible for the soldiers’ security.
At that time there was also a meeting scheduled to take place between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an and DTP officials, but following the Çukurca mine blast Erdo?an canceled the meeting.
Rights and Freedom Party (HAK-PAR) Chairman Bayram Bozyel also reminded the public that Turkey is taking important steps towards democratization and that after the referendum there was an atmosphere conducive to solving the Kurdish question.
“But obviously shadowy forces want to ruin this atmosphere. Maybe these forces organized these attacks or maybe they had the PKK prepare this attack. But whatever the situation, dialogue efforts for a peaceful solution should continue,” he told Today’s Zaman.


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