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The difference between the PKK and Daesh.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoy-lu, speaking at a dinner at the annual World Economic Forum conference held in Davos, Switzerland, first reiterated the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government's discourse: "Our priority is to fight against terrorism of different kinds, be it Daesh [Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant], PKK [Kurdistan Workers' Party] or DHKP/C [Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front]. We do not see any difference between these terrorist organizations." He then went on to say, "We do not observe the same solidarity the international community displays in the fight against Daesh with Turkey's fight against the PKK."

I trust Davutoy-lu is among those who know best why the international community, headed by the United States and the European Union, sides with Turkey in its fight against the PKK while urging for a political solution to the problem. He surely is a firsthand witness to the efforts spent by the AKP government for a negotiated settlement until Selahattin DemirtaE-, the leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) declared his party would not allow for the executive presidential system President Recep Tayyip Erdoy-an wants adopted.

We can, however, for the time being leave aside Davutoy-lu's complaint at Davos about the international community and ask if there is really no difference between the PKK and Daesh. It is true that there is no internationally agreed legal definition of terrorism. Who some call "terrorists" others call "freedom fighters." Even states are sometimes accused of resorting to terrorism. The term "terrorism" was in fact used for the first time in reference to the government's violent suppression of the opposition following the French Revolution. We can still define terrorism as acts of violence that intimidate and kill innocent civilians, and terrorists as those who engage in such violence. With such a commonsensical definition, there is no doubt that both the PKK and Daesh are terrorist organizations.

But there are certain differences between the two. Daesh aims at nothing less than re-establishing the caliphate over all Sunni Muslim societies, and commits the most abominable atrocities. It is not possible to speak to or engage in negotiations with it, in light at least of its behavior so far. The PKK, on the other hand, has changed its aims over time. It set out with the aim of uniting all Kurds of the Middle East under a Marxist-Leninist state. It eventually abandoned Marxism-Leninism, and limited its aims with autonomy for the Kurds within Turkey, declaring it may lay down arms if its demands are met. It engaged in negotiations with Turkey's government beginning in 2009, and its imprisoned paramount leader, Abdullah Eucalan, declared in 2013 that the period of armed struggle is over. The clashes between the security forces and the PKK resumed, unfortunately, when the Turkish government, led by President Erdoy-an, abandoned the talks last summer.

The resumption of talks, however, seems likely. President Erdoy-an had initially said that the talks were frozen. Most recently he said the PKK in the Kandil Mountains or "its extension" the HDP will never be party to the talks but did not exclude talks with Eucalan, who in 2013 said he could support the executive presidentialism Erdoy-an wants. While Erdoy-an disclosed he is soon to meet with HDP deputy Leyla Zana, former Deputy Prime Minister and Parliament Speaker BE-lent Arync, said Eucalan could be party to the renewed resolution process.

It is not, therefore, at all surprising that the international community, particularly Turkey's NATO allies, declare their support for Turkey in its fight against the PKK, but at the same time call for a political solution to the problem. It is obviously in their interest that Turkey avoids civil strife and achieves domestic peace and stability. It is neither surprising that they want Turkey to focus its energies on the fight against Daesh, which they see as the main enemy.

For all these reasons, Prime Minister Davutoy-lu's complaint about the international community not displaying solidarity with Turkey does not make much sense.

E[currency]AHyN ALPAY [Cihan/Today's Zaman] CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Jan 25, 2016
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