All of the AKP’s provocations occur in a context where the state’s militarist strategy in Kurdistan is beginning to lose legitimacy even in the country’s west, where it used to help establish consent and stability by drawing divides between “terrorist Kurds” and “patriotic” Turks. One key element of the relative success of the AKP in making its own project hegemonic was to continue nationalist policies to bind these Turks against the “separatist terrorists,” while seeking to integrate the more conservative and religious Kurds into their project under the banner of Islam.
“This is clear cut for us and there is no joking about it,” one official said of the possibility of Syrian Kurdish militia crossing the Euphrates to extend control along Turkish borders from Iraq’s Kurdistan region towards the Mediterranean coast.
Labor unions, other workers and universities throughout the country went on strike and led protests against the government on Monday, pointing to a nation dangerously polarized by unrest and violent spillover from Syria’s civil war.
The origins of the deep state are usually traced to two traditions: secret organizations formed by the Turkish military, starting around the end of the Ottoman empire, and “stay-behind” counter-revolutionary forces, trained by Western intelligence agencies during the Cold War to act as a resistance if the Soviet Union ever invaded. Early in the 20th century, a Special Organization, connected to but not always governed by the military, gathered intelligence, fomented rebellions and conducted extralegal killings in the area still under control of the Ottoman empire; this group is linked, too, with the Armenian genocide at that time.
Turkish officials said they had firm evidence linking Islamic State to the twin suicide bombings that killed scores of people at a peace rally in the country’s deadliest ever terrorist attack.
Some members of the largely Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, or HDP, which stunned Turkey by winning enough seats in parliament in the June elections to stymie Erdogan’s ambitions, have gone so far as to accuse the Turkish president of failing to prevent the massacre.
At 40.9 percent, the AKP still won the most votes in the June election, but the HDP’s success denied the former ruling party an outright majority in parliament–and with it, Erdoğan’s plans to rewrite the country’s constitution to give the presidency greater powers.
When Prime Minister Davutoğlu failed to gain support from other opposition parties for a coalition government, new elections were set for November 1–and the regime immediately intensified political repression and state violence. Its aim is to create an atmosphere of chaos and crisis–both to win votes from the nationalist right and to reduce, by whatever means it can muster, the turnout for the left-wing HDP below the 10 percent threshold.