Erdogan’s new change of course in the Kurdish policy


The dismissal of Kurdish citizens in Eastern Turkey, a maneuver of the Turkish President is master: nationalism comes to the voters well. Not for the first Time Kurds as Erdogan’s game figures to be used.

It was a hard blow for the Kurdish voters in the East of Turkey: For the towns of Mardin, Van, and the clandestine Kurdish capital of Diyarbakir, the Central government appointed in Ankara, acting administrator; the will of the voters who had elected prokurdische mayor, was not taken into account. The three predominantly Kurdish-inhabited cities in the local elections on October 31. March hotly contested. Finally, the prokurdische HDP won the elections clearly. The town halls of the three cities had to be you nevertheless. “We have evidence that the mayor, with the terrorist organisations are in contact and support”, established the Ministry of the interior of the step. This evidence has not been presented yet.

The redundancies are understood by many Kurdish voters and politicians – how to put it, HDP-party speaker Saruhan Oluc – as an “attack on democracy”. The step of the Turkish government, however, came unexpectedly. The Turkish President had hinted before the local elections on several occasions, the possible deployment of coercive managers. Also not new are the Governor of Ankara in Kurdish cities: Since 2016 in almost 100 Kurdish cities, elected mayors and Municipal Board members were replaced by the forced administrator – about 40 of the sales are in pre-trial detention.

Auasschreitungen to the mayor-redundancies in Diyarbakir

Friend and foe in the exchange game

The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is known for his pragmatism. Who is friend and who is enemy, which changes depending on the mood and political situation. Particularly, the Kurds were in need of in the case of Erdogan’s political maneuvers often as the game ball miss.

With just two months of dealing with the Kurds was in the country, yet friendly. Finally, Kurdish voters were seen since the local elections at the end of March as the “king-maker”: The HDP party leadership in some cities, its own candidate and called on their voters to give instead to the candidate of the also opposition CHP your voice. Without Kurdish backing, according to observers, suggests the election victory of the CHP would not have been in some Turkish cities is conceivable.

Ekrem imamoğlu was supported at the election in IStanbul of the prokurdischen HDP

As the Turkish electoral Commission (YSK) declared new elections for the mayor elections in Istanbul, tried the leadership of Erdogan’s party, AKP, to draw in the second ballot, the Kurdish voters to their side. Shortly before the election on may 23. In June, the charm offensive: The last 20 years imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan came – for many Kurds is an icon – was for the first time in many years of contact with the outside world. Even stranger was a performance by the ACP candidate Binali Yildirim: In the Kurdish stronghold of Diyarbakir, he gave a speech in which he spoke phrases in Kurdish, and even the name “Kurdistan” used – normally a taboo for a government politician. “Those who try to separate us or destroy our friendship, we will punish liars,” said Yildirim’s warm words to his “friends”.

Lost Game

However, all the efforts to win the favor of the Kurdish voters were not in vain, Erdogan’s move was Also at the second Istanbul-election of the opposition candidate won Ekrem imamoğlu, with Kurdish votes. In addition, Erdogan risked with its Kurdish policy, a rift with the ultra-national Alliance partners, the MHP, as well as loss of votes in the nationalist electorate.

After the lost election of the Turkish President by the Kurds waving friendly course back to a nationalist. The dismissal of the mayor in the three Kurdish cities is part of this change in Strategy.

Also in Ankara: Frestnahme of protests against the displacement of Kurdish mayor

180-degree Turn in Kurdish policy were – at least in the past – a tried and tested means of the policy of Erdogan. In the last parliamentary elections in June 2015, the government party, the AKP had to win the absolute majority, to come closer to the introduction of a presidential system. Also at that time, the Turkish government relied on the votes of the Kurds. Before the parliamentary elections, the government introduced three-year long peace negotiations with the Kurdish militia, the PKK, this should give more rights to the Kurds. But even then the Kurds did not a friendly move on the part of The Kurdish electorate voted for the prokurdische HDP, which moved for the first time, with 13 percent of the Parliament. The ACP section, in turn, historically bad. The Erdogan government reacted immediately: she finished the talks with the PKK, the rhetoric was nationalist, also a military operation against Kurdish militants in South-Eastern Anatolian cities began. In the early parliamentary elections in the same year, the AKP received absolute majority.

The President under pressure

There is a further Parallel: As in the year 2015, Erdogan is powerful under pressure – the economic and refugee crisis have harmed the popularity of the Turkish government is enormous. In the municipal elections, the AKP was punished by the voters. The new nationalist course secures at the expense of the Kurds, Erdogan’s political Survival, once again, is at least less likely. The framework conditions have changed: CHP representatives were among the First to be criticized, decided the dismissal of the Kurdish mayor in Van, Mardin and Diyarbakir. With the help of the Kurdish party, in municipal elections, it has not forgotten them.