Turkey: No to terrorism, no to double standards

If you collaborate with a terror group for whatever reason, it will eventually harm you.

A woman cries in the compound of a destroyed police station in Cinar, Diyarbakir
Today, it is clear that Kurdish people in the region have lost their faith in the PKK, writes Torun [AP]

As the violent conflict with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) rages on in eastern Turkey, the capital city of Ankara has been the target of terror attacks twice over the past two months.

The recent escalation in the conflict has cost hundreds of innocent lives.

Turkey’s efforts to maintain peace in the country will continue through carefully planned military operations, while still protecting civilians.

The “peace process” to end the decades-old Kurdish issue, which was initiated in late 2012, has been poisoned by the PKK and its campaign of terror. The group has amplified its operations against the Turkish state as a result of the power vacuum in Syria and Iraq.

Furthermore, Turkey has been left alone in its fight against PKK terrorism, since Western governments appear unwilling to stand behind Turkey in this regard.

PKK recruiting more militants

As part of the peace process, the PKK had promised to withdraw its militants beyond the border in 2013 as the first phase before total disarmament. Instead, it recruited more militants and took up more arms against Turkey by exploiting the destabilisation of Iraq and Syria.

On the other hand, a gesture of goodwill in the name of peace was shown by the Turkish government. The Justice and Development party (AK party) gradually abolished the previous restrictions on the rights of Kurdish people, and lifted the barriers of political expression for pro-Kurdish parties.

OPINION: The wrong mindset to fight terrorism

Although the predominately Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) passed the 10 percent electoral threshold in the June 2015 general elections, and hopes for a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish issue were high, the PKK declared a “Revolutionary People’s War” and started to kill innocent civilians, police and soldiers in the name of “self-governance”.

When compared to the reactions in the aftermath of the Brussels attacks, the apparent tolerance towards the PKK is not persuasive when framed in terms of the struggle against terrorism.


However, the peace process was not in vain. Today, it is clear that Kurdish people in the region have lost their faith in the PKK. The carefully executed security operations aiming to end the terrorism in Cizre, Silopi and Sur were accomplished, and military operations are ongoing in the Nusaybin, Yuksekova and Sirnak towns, with extreme caution to protect civilian lives.

Moreover, the majority of the Kurdish people have not answered the PKK’s call for a “Revolutionary Peoples’ War”, nor have they heeded the HDP’s call to protest against the Turkish security forces on two separate occasions.

AK party’s sincerity

It appears the Kurdish people are aware of the sincerity of the AK party government in this sense.

The HDP’s Nawroz meeting in Diyarbakir this year attracted only one tenth of the crowd in last year’s celebrations.

In light of these events, Turkey is expecting a similar approach from Western countries in its fight against terrorism.

In Europe, the PKK is freely disseminating propaganda through TV broadcasts, collecting money to finance terrorism, recruiting youth to send for terrorist training in Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq and comfortably setting up tents in city centres such as Brussels for further propaganda.

When compared with the reactions in the aftermath of the Brussels attacks, this apparent tolerance towards the PKK is illogical when framed in terms of the struggle against terrorism.

Could those who show tolerance for the PKK in the West imagine such sentiments expressed in favour of al-Qaeda or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS)?

The collaboration of the United States with the Syrian branch of the PKK, namely the Democratic Union Party (PYD) against ISIL is an undeniable fact in today’s world.

PYD is a Stalinist group

The PYD – like its parent organisation – is a Stalinist group. They killed and exiled all other Kurdish groups in PYD-controlled areas in northern Syria.


They ethnically cleansed and exiled Arabs and Turkmens from these areas, and are implementing a policy of demographic engineering in the north of Syria to establish a homogenous Kurdish region.

Recently, they also announced “self-governance” in northern Syria. The reason why the US supports the PYD is that they are instrumental in fighting ISIL – or so they claim.

Saying that you are against terrorism and in the meantime supporting a terrorist group is wrong in principle and a double standard by definition. You cannot support one terrorist group against another.

If you collaborate with a terror group for whatever reason, it will eventually harm you. Hence, the US and European countries should act in principle against all kinds of terrorism, otherwise no one can possibly take their discourse against terrorism seriously.

Kani Torun is a Justice and Development Party member of the parliament and Deputy Chair of Foreign Affairs Committee at the Turkish parliament.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.