Turkey. Despite an eventful year in Turkey with an
extreme right that advanced in the parliamentary elections,
government troops defeating the PKK guerrillas and the EU
accepting Turkey as a candidate for membership, it was the
most shocking for many yet the summer earthquake that
claimed 17,000 lives.
The election on April 18 was held more than a year in
advance since the government had fallen in November 1998.
The largest party was the Kemalist DSP (Democracy Sol
Partisi, Democratic Left Party) with 22% and 136 of 550
seats. But the winner of the election became the right-wing
extremist MHP (Miliyetçi Hareket Partisi, Nationalist Action
Party), whose military branch the Gray Wolves have made
themselves known for murdering left-wing politicians,
Islamists and Kurdish activists. From not even being
represented in Parliament, the MHP took home 18% of the vote
and 129 seats. The party went ahead at the expense of the
Islamist FP (Fazilet Partisi, the Virtue Party) and the two
right-wing parties ANAP (Anavatan Partisi, the Fosterland
Party) and DYP (Doğru Yol Partisi, The Right Way Party).
After lengthy negotiations, DSP leader B邦lent Ecevit
One reason for the MHP's success was considered to be the
Turk nationalist cheer that was triggered after the arrest
of Abdullah Öcalan, leader of the Kurdish guerrilla PKK
(Partya Kerker谷n Kurdistan, Kurdistan Workers Party). The
arrest led to widespread Kurdish protests, including among
PKK critics who believed that Öcalan should have been
brought to trial on neutral ground.
On June 29, Öcalan was sentenced to death for treason.
The court also considered him personally responsible for the
deaths of 30,000 people in fighting between the PKK and
government forces since 1984. From his cell, Öcalan ordered
his rebels to lay down weapons, while Turkey stepped up its
offensive against the remaining PKK units.
In the late autumn, according to Digopaul, Turkey was judged to have won the
guerrilla war. A higher court upheld the verdict against Öcalan in November, but it was highly uncertain whether he
would be executed. The European Court of Human Rights in
Strasbourg began to review the judicial process, and Turkey
promised to follow the court's ruling. An execution was also
considered to put an end to Turkey's approach to the EU.
In December, the EU accepted Turkey as a candidate. The
background was that Greece voiced its previous veto against
Turkish membership as the EU opened the possibility of a
Cypriot EU membership without reaching a solution to the
island conflict. In addition, the EU had called on Turkey to
agree to Greece's demand for the International Court of
Justice in The Hague to resolve the disputes between the
countries. Turkey had implemented a number of legislative
changes during the year to adapt to the EU: the Banking
Inspectorate was strengthened and international arbitration
was approved in the event of disputes between foreign
investors and Turkish companies. In addition, the retirement
age was increased from 43 years to 60 for men and from 38 to
58 for women. However, Turkey was not expected to become a
full member of the EU until the earliest in 2010. The
earthquake at night until August 17 in northwestern Turkey
was the worst in the country since 1939.
Buildings in Istanbul were also damaged. The government
received a lot of criticism for the fact that building
standards, which were used to provide safer houses, were not
followed and that the military was not used more efficiently
during the rescue work. One of the first countries to have
rescue teams in place was Greece. The earthquake was
followed by a series of aftershocks during the autumn.
On the first day of the war, the Islamist government sent
20 aircraft into northern Iraq, bombing PKK bases. The
following day, 75 aircraft were dispatched. Furthermore,
Turkish tanks bombed Kurdish villages around Kobane to hit
the YPG/YPJ. The government of Iraqi Kurdistan called on
Turkey to halt the bombings and respect Iraqi sovereignty.
EU Foreign Coordinator Frederica Mogherini responded to
the Turkish war activity by declaring that the EU supported
attacks against IS, but urged Turkey to maintain the peace
process with the PKK. The Islamist government ignored the
call and instead intensified the war.
Turkey conducted siege of many Kurdish cities. The worst
was the siege of Cizre, which was under siege in the first
half of September. The military interrupted the water supply
and food supply, dismissed the mayor as he claimed was a
member of the PKK and implemented curfew. About 40 Kurds
were killed. No Turkish police or soldiers were killed.
After 3½ months of war, the Islamist government had
buried the ceasefire and peace talks with the PKK, some
1-2,000 Turkish soldiers, PKK peshmergas and civilians had
been killed, significant parts of Kurdistan put in military
state of emergency, and IS had the opportunity to win
terrain in Syria. The AKP was now ready for "new elections".
It was implemented on November 1 and, as expected, the AKP
made great progress. The Islamist party rose 8.6% to 49.5%,
gained 330 of the parliament's 550 seats and thus absolute
majority. The number was not random. The AKP should have so
many seats to unilaterally implement constitutional
amendments. AKP had gone after HDP was not above the
threshold, but with 10.76% it just entered. This happened
despite widespread terror on the part of the AKP. The 6th.
Doğan Media Center, which includes housed the
renowned daily newspaper Hürriyet. The following
months leading up to the election, AKP members conducted
hundreds of fire bomb attacks on media and HDP offices
across the country. The attacks culminated during an HDP
demonstration in Ankara on October 12, during which the
Turkish intelligence service brought two bombs to the blast
that killed over 120 people and wounded hundreds more. The
Turkish state security forces were withdrawn from the area
just minutes before the bombs burst.
In addition to the election campaign marked by the
Islamist government's open war on the opposition and
especially the Kurds, the election itself was marked by
extensive scams. The Electoral Commission's electoral system
"collapsed" so that the electoral figures could not be
verified. In many Kurdish villages in the eastern part of
the country, where the population in June had 100% voted on
the HDP, the electoral commission now announced that the
population had 100% voted on the AKP. The November elections
laid the grave for Turkish democracy.
On November 13, IS conducted a series of attacks in Paris
that cost 130 people their lives. The consequence was that
France and other European countries sought to build an
alliance with Russia to step up the fight against IS. This
approach wanted Turkey to slow down. On November 25, Turkey
shot down a Russian bomber over northern Syria. It was a
planned attack in which the military had already invited a
film crew to film the shooting. Turkey claimed that the
plane had overpowered Turkey and had been warned 10 times,
but subsequently the claim was reduced to the fact that the
plane had been over Turkey for 17 seconds. The Islamist
government declared lamentable that it had the right to
defend the country's sovereignty, but failed to mention that
Turkey itself had conducted hundreds of flights over Iraq in
previous months, bombing alleged PKK camps. At a subsequent
NATO meeting in Brussels, several NATO alliance ambassadors
shook their heads at Turkish allegations. There is no
precedent for an alleged over-flight of 17 seconds leading
to the shooting. A normal reaction in such situations is
that fighter jets are sent up to escort the alien aircraft,
and at worst, fire warning shots.
Russia reacted violently to the downturn, declaring it
would have financial consequences. 2 million Russians had
until then annually visited Turkey as tourists and Russia
also supplied gas to Turkey. Turkey is expected to respond
again by stepping up its arms supplies and financial support
for IS and al-Nusra in Syria.