Preparing for “civil war” during the solution process

The Turkish original of this article was published as

Çözüm sürecinde “iç savaş” hazırlığı on 25th December 2015.


Turkey was determined to open a new page of brotherhood page through the solution process. The guns would be laid down, the terror would end, the Kurds’ victimhood would be redressed, and channels of democratic politics would be opened to further strengthen domestic peace. Starting with the “democratic opening” process it initiated in 2009, the government implemented numerous reforms, restoring Kurdish rights one by one. The solution process then  launched in 2013 aimed at bringing the PKK to lay down its arms, completely ending all terror. 


But contrary to the government’s best intentions in launching this process, the PKK appears to have seen it as just a good opportunity to prepare for a civil war. Based on the terror the PKK has been escalating over the last few months, we can now say that Kandil actually utilized the solution process to prepare for a civil war that would start from regional towns and cities to spread all over Turkey.


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Abdülkadir Konuksever of Al Jazeera Türk has conducted a number of interviews with people from Diyarbakır’s Sur district. They shed light on how the PKK abused the solution process from the very beginning. The following impressions of  a certain “Murat” from Sur are crucial in this regard: “I’ve been living there for thirty years. I know everyone who lives in my neighborhood, house by house, name by name. When this solution process started, I began to see new people coming and settling every day. I made some inquiries, and learned that they were PKK militants who had not left the country. They kept calling people to gather in the market, in the bazaar or in coffee-houses to talk to them about various things. They spoke very good Turkish, even Istanbuliote Turkish. I began to see ‘MLKP’ graffiti on the walls [the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party]. Then I learned that they came from  …….  (probably Tunceli — Kurtuluş Tayiz). They were carrying out propaganda on all men and women they saw and stopped on the street. After the Suruç bombing, their numbers increased and they became more severe. They were checking identity papers in our neighborhood and questioning our acquaintances about ‘which side he is on.’ When they started to dig the ditches, other young men on motorbikes started to bring in guns in their backpacks from Hevsel gardens. This stockpiling went on for days. With the rubble from demolished old buildings and all the sand the municipality’s trucks kept carrying in, they filled sacks to make into sandbags for putting up barricades. They drew the neighborhood kids alongside and trained them as the YDG-H. Indeed it is these YDG-H kids who carry out all their menial tasks, like scouting etc. I was then that I realized that never again were we to have any peace.”


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In all these ways, the PKK used the solution process that started in 2013 as an opportunity to come down from the mountains into the cities. In Sur and all other counties where “self-government” was eventually proclaimed, preparations started long beforehand. It was at this time that the urban gangs called the YDG-H were trained and organized. Guns, bombs and rocket-launchers came to be stockpiled.


The Diyarbakır, Suruç and Ankara bombings must also be re-assessed in connection with the PKK’s civil war preparations. The purpose of these massacres was not to influence the elections but to cause the Kurds to suffer so as to recruit them to the PKK’s civil war. When Selahattin Demirtaş accused the government of being “the murderer”  behind the Diyarbakır-Suruç-Ankara bombings, what he was really doing was to try to persuade the Kurds to join in this civil war that the PKK was about to start. The Diyarbakır, Suruç and Ankara attacks were carried out to enable the PKK to Syrianize Turkey. When Kandil felt that its preparations were complete, it wrecked the solution process to launch this civil war. At the end of the day, they were unable to muster popular support, but they are still active in the region. Ankara has managed to shackle the PKK’s civil war attempt, but has not eliminated the threat altogether.