Women wave flags outside the AK Party headquarters in Ankara, Turkey.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A former member of the Turkish parliament and Israeli experts expressed skepticism to The Jerusalem Post on Sunday over President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ability to deal with the violence engulfing the country.
“With the ill-informed and ill-conceived policies of the AKP government, I can’t see how there can be an end to violence in Turkey,” said Dr. Aykan Erdemir, a former member of the Turkish parliament (2011- 2015) and a senior fellow at the Washington- based Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
“Turkey has had seven suicide bomb attacks within the last 13 months. This is the spiral of violence I and my colleagues have been warning about for the last few years,” he said.
“Turkey, I believe, is beginning to resemble a semi-failed state,” asserted the Turkey expert.
“This is not the first Islamic State attack on Turkish soil nor will it be the last,” he continued, in reference to Saturday’s bloody suicide bombing in Istanbul. “Turkey has seen jihadist forces as a convenient ally against both the Assad regime and the PKK [Kurdish militant group].”
The AKP government has been repeatedly warned about blowback from its “reckless” Islamization campaign, and now it is trying to curb Islamic State activity, but it seems to be too late, added Erdemir.
“The snake is biting the hand that feeds it,” he said.
Asked if he sees Ankara getting more involved in the Syrian civil war in its battle with the Kurds, Erdemir responded that it is likely to get more involved in both Syria and Iraq. “Both President Erdogan and the PKK are keen to escalate the Kurdish conflict.”
Erdogan hopes that the battle against the Kurds will rally the country behind his campaign for an executive presidential system, he said.
Turkey urgently needs to find a sustainable, peaceful solution to the Kurdish problem, something that would involve increasing democratic governance and respect for human rights, he said.
“Neither the AKP nor Erdogan, however, has the least bit of interest in democracy,” Erdemir concluded.
Prof. Efraim Inbar, an expert on Turkey and director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, told the Post
that Turkey has faced waves of terrorism in the past motivated by discontent from domestic radical forces.
“In recent years, as result of the government’s Islamization campaign, there are extreme Islamists of Turkish origin,” noted Inbar.
Turkish authorities identified the suicide bomber on Saturday as a Turkish member of Islamic State.
Moreover, Inbar explained, Turkey has long borders with Armenia, Syria, Iraq and Iran that are not fully controlled, “leaving many routes for terrorists to come in.”
Asked how he sees Turkey responding, Inbar replied that “a ruthless Turkish campaign to suppress violent elements should be expected.”
Dr. Shaul Shay, director of research at the Institute for Policy and Strategy the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, told the Post
that Ankara seeks to prevent the Syrian Kurds from forming an autonomous area, something they are trying to do.
Asked if he thinks Turkish security forces are capable of dealing with the terrorist threat, he responded that Ankara is likely to escalate its use of force, but “dealing with terrorism is not simple.
“They can do better to reduce attacks, but not to completely stop them,” Shay said