The torturous road to peace in Turkey has been blocked by return to bloodshed and misery.
There could be no justification or excuse for the resumption of violence by the PKK. Each murder committed by its militants is making the three-decade long conflict more bitter and intractable.
At its emergency meeting in Brussels, NATO condemned the PKK attacks and declared solidarity with its member Turkey. At the same time, Turkey was urged to use “proportionate military force” against Kurdish militants.
Political support by NATO and the European Union to Turkey came with caveat. Turkey’s allies wanted Turkey to keep its Kurdish peace process alive.
While the NATO meeting was underway, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that the peace process has already came to an end.
Just before his departure to China for an official visit, Mr Erdoğan said that it is was not possible to continue the process “with those who threaten Turkey’s national unity and brotherhood”.
It was not just the talks between the AKP government and the PKK that has ended. Legitimacy of the Kurdish political movement would began to be questioned and harsh new measures against the elected representatives of Turkey’s Kurds would be taken, too. The President asked the parliament to strip the immunity from prosecution of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies and make them “pay the price” for links to “terrorist groups”.
The HDP was quick to respond. 80 deputies from the party would submit petitions to the parliament for their immunities to be lifted.
Selahattin Demirtaş, the leader of the HDP, told his party group that they committed no unforgivable crimes. Their only crime was winning 13 % of the vote at the last general election.
In a ground-breaking interview he gave to Radikal journalist Ezgi Başaran, Mr Demirtaş revealed the details of the negotiations between the PKK, the representatives of his party and the government.
What he said was in such great contrast with what the president and his ministers have been saying, no wonder pro-government media decided to censor it. They did not report his speech to the party group, either.
Taking Mr Demirtaş’s revelations at face value, it is impossible not to suspect that the government had lost its honest desire to put an end to the conflict long before the truce ended. To be precise, as soon as they realised it was costing them votes.
After the election, both inside and outside Turkey, hopes were raised that a new government would reconsider its Syrian policy which is now fully intertwined with the Kurdish problem.
Only this week, the day after Turkey escalated the tension with its bombardment of both ISIS and the PKK, a senior British source was expressing his belief that Turkey, their indispensable ally in the Middle East, would not give up its peace process. “They know there is no military solution to the Kurdish conflict” he said.
Violence and counter- violence may only lead to further bloodshed and misery for Turks and Kurds for many years to come but for now, considerations are for the short term.
There is no doubt that shattered peace and growing instability have strengthened Mr. Erdogan’s hand. The AKP, too, may well benefit from growing fear and rising nationalism and recoup some of the support it has lost at the ballot box.
At what a cost, you may ask.
For now, they seem confident that they will not be the ones to pay the price.
This post is also available in: Turkish