The 2015 elections will be an important turning point for Turkey, one of the most powerful democracies of the Middle East. Turkey is a country with the ideal of establishing the Islamic Union, a country to which the Islamic world looks up to and from which those who have been wronged await help. Therefore, this election is also important for neighboring countries, especially for Syria and Iraq, and for the region. Undoubtedly, the U.S. and the EU will also be watching carefully.
One of the most important attributes of modern states of law is that elections are fair and democratic. In other words, voters must be able to reflect their free will at the ballot box, free of any element of pressure. If the free will of the voters is encumbered, then it is impossible to speak of democracy or fair elections.
Turkey is one of the rare Middle Eastern countries in which a climate of free and fair elections prevails, even if democracy has been interrupted by coups from time to time in the past. In that respect, it instills confidence in the whole region. However, problems experienced in ensuring public order in the Southeast, particularly recently, are giving rise to severe doubts on how sound the elections in the region will be.
In a climate in which people from difficult political parties are attacked, threatened with death or killed, roads are blocked, protection money is collected, people are kidnapped up to the mountains, civilians’ homes are raked by gunfire, schools are burned, work machinery is set on fire and so-called public order and law enforcement units mete out punishments, the people will obviously vote as told to by those pressuring them, not according to their own free will. The PKK puts enormous pressure on the public’s free will through arms, threats and intimidation methods. Under such conditions, people will vote not as they wish, but for whomsoever the PKK dictates them to. There can be no question of fair and democratic elections under such circumstances; such an election will not be a valid one. It is therefore essential to ensure that public order is established urgently, before the elections take place, and that citizens are properly protected and that the PKK pressure on the public is lifted.
The PKK Is a Communist Mafia Organization That Haunts the People of the Region
The events of 6-8 October that took place all across Turkey revealed one very important fact: The problem of maintaining public order, which had for long occupied an important place in reports from the region, became a severe problem that needs to be handled urgently. The PKK gained substantial control over the region and enforced a Stalinist system of pressure on its people. The PKK does not permit those who oppose the PKK’s ideology and who do not think like it the right to life in the region. The PKK, whose first acts were to kill those Kurds who might represent a rival force to it, and who ruthlessly murders its own allies, is putting enormous pressure on Kurds in the region today and imposing its own communist ideology and lifestyle on them.
It has set up so-called local defense units, judicial units and tax authorities, and thus turned racketeering, blocking roads and holding kangaroo courts and handing out punishments into routine procedures. The PKK, one of the most ferocious mafia-like organizations in the Middle East, has become a scourge on the people of the region.
Actions that totally disregard public order, such as burning machinery, attacking dam construction sites, blocking roads, kidnapping workers, village heads, gendarmes and other civil servants, seizing young people from their families and forcing them up into the mountains, burning down schools, breaking up Qur’an-study courses, private educational institutions and student accommodations, making it impossible for other party offices and organizations to work, engaging in racketeering and performing identity checks have all become parts of ordinary, daily life.
What is even more terrifying is the violence inflicted on former village guards, people opposed to the PKK, those who vote for parties other than the one backed by the PKK, or those who refuse to pay protection money or refuse to send their children up into the mountains. Such people’s homes are attacked and are burned with women and children still inside them, armed attacks take place in broad daylight and they are even tied to electricity pylons and slaughtered in the most barbaric manner. In addition to all those atrocities, other acts of terror such as harassing fire aimed at the police and gendarmes and the laying of land mines are also continuing.
The main purpose of all this savagery is to send the people of the region the message that states; “You can live on these lands only if you do what we want. What we say, goes.” Indeed, large numbers of people are known to have abandoned their homes and lands because of the intimidation carried out by the PKK and to have migrated elsewhere.
The Office of the Commander in Chief, the General Commandership of Gendarmerie and the General Directorate of Security listed the organization’s acts of violence in the first five months of 2014 alone as follows:
– Terrorists carried out 10 attacks on military personnel, and 28 acts of harassment occurred.
– Five acts have been carried out with land mines and handmade explosives.
– Acts of sabotage and road blocking occurred in 13 places. Banks and workplaces were looted 6 times.
– 18 kidnappings took place.
– One petty officer and one specialist sergeant were martyred.
– Three petty officers, twenty-two specialist privates and five regular privates were kidnapped. One police officer was martyred and two village guards were kidnapped.
-399 illegal demonstrations were held, and 40 acts of forcing shops to close their shutters took place. Together with various other acts, the total number of acts carried out has reached 1,190.
– Since the beginning of the Peace Process, some 2,500 people aged under 18 have been kidnapped, 70% of which are under the age of 15 and the rest are in the 15-18 age range. (A detailed list of these acts is provided enclosed)
The intensity of these actions and PKK intimidation over the local people has been stepped up still further since the second half of 2014. The Peace Process initiated by our government for the furtherance of democracy has been used by the PKK and its supporters in the region as a very different propaganda tool. On the one hand, propaganda has been carried out to give the message that states ‘from now on we will be in charge,’ while on the other hand the organization carried out activities expanding its authority over the region. The violence in question is one component of that activity. Indeed, the KCK recently made a statement saying, “Our duty is to show who can and cannot live in [so-called] Kurdistan.”
One of the most terrible examples that present the vision the PKK has in mind took place on 6-8 October, 2014. Young people whom they had indoctrinated for years to kill and die, and to whom they had given Marxist-Leninist and Stalin education, committed murders and vandalism everywhere they went. The picture that emerged was a tragic one. In this uprising, in which young people who did not share their views were thrown through glass windows, had their heads crushed with rocks or were run over by cars, turmoil developed in 35 cities; forty people lost their lives and two members of the security forces were martyred. Two hundred twenty-one civilians and 139 members of the security forces were injured. A total of 1,113 buildings, including 212 school buildings, 67 security buildings, 25 district governorship buildings, 29 political party buildings and 780 other buildings including many sheltered housing for children, Red Crescent blood centers and municipal buildings were damaged or destroyed. Private vehicles, municipal vehicles, ambulances and police vehicles were burned during these acts of violence, and a total of 1,177 vehicles were made inoperable.
PKK intimidation, particularly against religious people in the region, has continued at the same level of severity after the 6-8 October uprising. Horrifying incidents occurred in Cizre recently, such as the burning of a home containing a pregnant woman and her child. There are reports in the press regarding many citizens having to shave their beards off in order to avoid the violence carried out by the PPK.
Protecting Citizens against All Forms of Violence is the Fundamental Duty of the State
Turkey is a great and powerful state. One of the foundations of that strength is the ultimate attention it pays to democracy and its compassion. The fact that separatist terror organizations such as the PKK misunderstand these basic characteristics of the state and fall into the error of regarding themselves as very strong must not deceive anyone. Our state can carry out the measures required to reinstate public order in a maximum of 48 hours at most when it sees fit.
It is very important for this compassionate strength of the state to be felt in every inch of the country. The security of our citizens must be ensured, and they must be free to travel everywhere in the country in peace and safety.
Before the local elections, members of other parties engaging in electoral activities in the region have been attacked and party buildings have been damaged frequently. The AKP candidate for mayor of Van, Osman Nuri Gülaçar, could only escape the attacks carried out against him by fleeing inside a shop; similarly, the AKP Deputy for Van, Gülşen Orhan, was attacked with stones. Many parties are unable to engage in electoral activities in the region at all, and civil society organizations are unable to carry out cultural activities such as holding conferences and symposia or handing out books.
All these matters need to be put right before the general election. If the elections are held under these conditions, if the intimidation at gunpoint is not lifted from the public, then the electoral results from the Southeast will not be valid, because they will not reflect the free will of the people in the region. People living under the shadow of guns will have to vote perforce, unwillingly, for whomever the PKK dictates them to. These votes will not be halal, and the elections held under such circumstances will not be a fair and democratic one.
We kindly request our state and our government to take all necessary measures on this subject, to ensure public order so that all citizens can feel safe and to lift the PKK pressure on the people of the region.
Annex: The following are just a few of the actions perpetrated by the PKK between March and June, 2014:
– On 26/03/2014, three police officers were injured, one seriously, in a Molotov cocktail attack on a police vehicle in Şırnak/Silopi
– On 04/04/2014, a construction site near the district of Van/Başkale was raided by a group headed by the PKK militant responsible for the region, and the site manager was kidnapped.
– On 05/04/2014, a tent was erected by the members of the BDP and the militants of the organization in order to obstruct the construction of a police station in Hakkari’s Mesken Mountain.
– On 06/04/2014, one soldier was injured during harassing fire from a group of 10-12 PKK members in northern Iraq against the Şemdinli/Derecik Mamraş Tepe Base area
– On 06/04/2014, three villagers, one of which was a village guard, were kidnapped as they were heading out to pasture in the village of Çevrimli in the Güçlükonak province of Şırnak
– On 07/04/2014, two trucks were set on fire on the Diyarbakır-Bingöl road. A civilian oil survey company in Mardin/Kısmetli village was raided by the PKK, and a fuel tanker was set on fire.
– On 14/04/2014, members of the PKK carrying heavy weapons that are thought to be DOÇKA and Bixi, opened fire on troops engaged in reconnaissance and surveillance missions regarding the building of a police station on Kale Hill in Hakkari/Şemdinli.
– On 14/04/2014, security units were attacked when people inside the tent erected on Hakkari’s Mesken Mountain wanted to climb the peak and issue a press statement but were prevented from doing so.
– On 23/04/2014, the commando unit on Hakkari’s Kale Hill was exposed to harassing fire.
– On 27/04/2014, two people living in the Iğdır’s Karakoyunlu district, Bulakbaşı village, were beaten for not voting for the BDP, threatened with death and forced to leave Mount Ağrı.
– On 27/04/2014, the municipal committee in the Saray district of Van was forced to resign.
– On 28/04/2014, harassing fire was opened towards the Hakkari/Şemdinli-Kale Tepe base.
– On 28/04/2014, Two specialist sergeants were kidnapped during a roadblock carried out as part of a tent protest in the Lice district of Diyarbakır-Bingöl road.
– On 03/05/2014, The Şemdinli/Kalmış Tepe base came under fire with Doçka.
– On 13/05/2014, a military unit in the Mesken Mountain region of Hakkari came under fire and one soldier was injured.
– On 14/05/2014, nine laborers working on road construction at the Şırnak/Görmeç village military base region were kidnapped.
– On 16/05/2014, two soldiers were injured with fire opened on a military unit responsible for establishing security during the construction of a police station in Sütlüce village of Tunceli.
– On 18/05/2014, two people living in the Kıyıköy district of Diyarbakır/Lice were attacked with guns
– On 19/05/2014, a civilian truck carrying equipment for the building of a police station in Van/Çatak was burned.
– On 24/05/2014, the Diyarbakır-Bingöl road was blocked and ditches were dug
– On 27/05/2014, fire was opened on a military unit in Ağrı/Doğubayazıt.
– On 27/05/2014, a soldier was kidnapped between Lice and Hani districts of Diyarbakır.
– On 28/05/2014, a village guard was shot in the head and killed in Dargeçit district of Mardin.
– On 28/05/2014, the chairman of the Hür Dava Party (HÜDA-PAR) for the Dicle district of Diyarbakır was kidnapped.
– On 30/05/2014, members of the Patriotic Democratic Youth Movement (YDG-H), the youth wing of the PKK, opened fire and blocked a road in Izmir.
– On 30/05/2014, a road was blocked in Diyarbakır.
– On 30/05/2014, a road was blocked in Muş/Varto.
– On 31/05/2014, security forces opening a road blocked with gutters to traffic in Diyarbakır-Bingöl was attacked with improvised explosive devices.
– On 01/06/2014, a vehicle was burned in Nazımize district of Tunceli.
– On 02/06/2014, workers on the Diyarbakır-Bingöl highway were kidnapped and placed in a tent erected in the region to make them nearly be killed with the bullets fired by the troops.
– On 02/06/2014, other alternative roads to the Diyarbakır-Bingöl highway were blocked and linking roads were demolished.
– On 03/06/2014, a base station in the center of Bitlis was put out of commission.
– On 04/06/2014, an armed attack was carried out aiming at security units in Hakkari/Şemdinli.
– On 04/06/2014, a tent was set up and roads were blocked in Bingöl/Karlıova.
– On 04/06/2014, acts of road blocking and identity checks were carried out in Tunceli/Nazımiye.
– On 04/06/2014, security units came under harassing fire in Diyarbakır/Hani.
– On 05/06/2014, security units came under harassing fire in Diyarbakır/Lice.
– On 05/06/2014, security units were attacked with explosives and fireworks during the closure of the Diyarbakır-Bingöl high road with gutters.
– On 05/06/2014, security units came under fire as they attempted to open the Diyarbakır-Bingöl high road to traffic and three soldiers were injured.
– On 05/06/2014, a vehicle was burned in Diyarbakır/Dicle.
– On 06/06/2014, the Van/Çatak highroad was blocked and identity checks were carried out
– On 06/06/2014, a vehicle was torched in Van/Çatak.
– On 07/06/2014, security units came under harassing fire in Tunceli/Ovacık.
– On 07/06/2014, an armed attack and an assault with improvised explosive devices was carried out against security units in Diyarbakır/Lice.
– On 07/06/2014, a vehicle was burned in Bingöl/Kiğı.
– On 08/06/2014, workers were kidnapped from a construction site of a company in Kars/Kağızman.
– On 08/06/2014, a vehicle was torched in Hakkari/Şemdinli.
– On 09/06/2014, an attack with improvised explosive devices was carried out against security units in Diyarbakır/Hani.
– On 09/06/2014, an armed attack was made on security units in Diyarbakır/Lice.
– On 09/06/2014, an armed attack was staged on security units in Şırnak/Uludere.