Turkey’s Erdogan ‘given US green light’ to fight Kurds and retain power

U.S. President Barack Obama listens as he hosts a bilateral meeting with Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan during the NATO Summit at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales September 5, 2014. © Larry Downing
President Erdogan had the power to have a coalition government, but he refused to do that and he went through with a vicious attack on the PKK party in the southeastern part of Turkey, says Beirut-based political commentator Marwa Osman.

RT: Now that Erdogan's party is firmly back in power, do you see the conflict with the Kurds getting worse or better?

Marwa Osman: After [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan won a landslide victory with winning more than 300 + seats – that is, 200 more seats than he needs to actually formulate his own government without a coalition -  I think that will only diminish the role of other political parties in Turkey because… we are back at square one before the June election when the HDP party, which is a pro-Kurdish party, took some seats which made Erdogan very angry at that time and he remained without any government.

He had the power to have a coalition government, but he refused to do that and he went through with a vicious attack on the PKK party in the southeastern part of Turkey. And this just built up the fear of insecurity in the country which led him to winning.

So, by doing that I believe that right now the Turkish political scene will just go back to where it is with a bit of security. There might be some dialogue between the PKK and the AKP at this point in time where everyone would just sit and look on at the Turkish economy – we might see some kind of a boost in the Turkish economy - but this might only be temporary because if Erdogan stays with the policy that he is on, that he is practicing in southeastern Turkey, then we will relive this kind of form of violence. And the country which we saw two weeks ago with 100 people being killed in a very peaceful protest… might just reapply on the Turkish scene.

A man holds scarves bearing the names and images of Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (R) and President Tayyip Erdogan as supporters of the AK Party gather to wait for the arrival of Davutoglu in Istanbul, Turkey November 3, 2015. © Murad Sezer

RT: Do you see Erdogan intensifying his airstrikes against the Kurds in Syria? How's that going to affect relations with America?

MO: Let’s start by why Erdogan went against these Kurds in the first place. When you go back to the June election and see how Erdogan had a vital loss – 13 years he had never lost these seats in the parliamentary elections. And we saw that part of the HDP – part of the democratic leaders party won these seats – this made him just go crazy. This was the actual breaking point of the talks or the ceasefire between the Kurdish side and the Turkish side. When that started happening, Erdogan had in mind that he will have to go through the fight with the PKK in order to regain the losses the he had in the past June elections.

So, what we saw in this kind of warfare between the two sides is something that was given, was blessed actually by the US without openly saying so. He was actually given that green light in order to regain this election because he is needed for at least the next two years for the fight in Syria. But on the other side, you see that he just won the amount of seats needed to formulate the government, but not to change the constitution, not to give more powers to the president. So, that raises a lot of questions right there. When you say that the Kurds are backed by the US, there are lots of examples of the US backing certain groups and then just reneging on their promises. That is just military strategies… we have not been actually promised anything by the US that they kept. So, that is not a big deal. But the big deal here is that after this election we will not see any sort of warfare again between the PKK and the AKP in southeastern Turkey that is one. Number two, we will recap the scene of certain militia activity in Northern Syria. This is where the role of Erdogan comes in, when he will reopen his borders for the infiltration of foreign military fighters to reenter the Northern part of Syria where the Russian and the Syrian army are targeting thousands and thousands of militants fleeing the land. Now, he will re-push this kind of strategy and this will actually give some leverage for the US in the talks which are going on right now in Vienna.

If this happens, the US will have more to exchange with Russia and Iran over this Syrian matter. It is all actually linked in one another. But if you look at it deeply you will see that this is the only role for Erdogan for regional and international policymaking. Other than that, he does not have any role and will not be given any green light any more by the US.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.