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Published On: Sun, Nov 29th, 2015

Assassination of Prominent Kurdish Lawyer in Turkey ignites Outrage – Geopolitics

nsnbc : The shooting of the prominent Kurdish lawyer and political activist Tahir Elci in Diyabakir has ignited  waves of outrage, protests and accusations in Turkey. 

Diyabakir_Turkey_ElciTahir Elci was shot in the head during a political event on Saturday. The murder ignited a wave of protests, predominantly in Turkey’s mostly Kurdish southeast. The pro-Kurdish, leftist HDP denounced the murder as a planned political assassination, urging people to take into the streets to protest. There have been heavy clashes between police and protesters in several cities in Turkey since Saturday and Sunday.

A video that captured the assassination also shows a gun battle in which two policemen died. Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmed Davotoglu rebuked the HDP’s allegations about a political assassination, claiming that it was unclear whether Elci was assassinated or whether he was caught in the crossfire. While the HDP claims the murder targeted Kurds, Davotoglu stated that the target, if it was an assassination, was Turkey.

Turkey’s President R. Tayyip Erdogan, for his part, said that the death of Elci was regrettable but that the shooting in Diyabakir showed that Turkey was right in its determination to fight terrorism. Elci was facing trial for having said that the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) was not a terrorist organization. Elci has, however, denounced the PKK’s use of violence.

Clashes between the Turkish military and police and the PKK have cost hundreds of lives since the collapse of a ceasefire in July. The conflict between Turkish government forces and the PKK have claimed a total of over 40,000 lives since the eruption of the conflict in 1984.

The death of Elci comes within a complex geopolitical game involving Turkey, Syria, Iraq and – not surprisingly – superpowers who instrumentalize the situation of the Kurds within the context of the war in Syria and Iraq.

The establishment of a Kurdish State with breathing straw access to the Mediterranean. Map plottings by Major (r) Agha H. Amin.

The establishment of a Kurdish State with breathing straw access to the Mediterranean. Map plottings by Major (r) Agha H. Amin.

The PKK has traditionally been backed by the Soviet Union and maintains according to informed analysts still ties to Moscow. NATO members USA and others designate the PKK as terrorist organization while supporting the Syrian – Kurdish YPG and the Peshmerga in northern Iraq.

Washington’s long-term strategy aims at the establishment of a Kurdish corridor from the from the Syrian mediterranean coast to northern Iraq. The corridor is part of a strategy that aims at spreading low-intensity conflicts along the Russian Federation’s southern borders and to the Pakistani – Chinese border. Moscow is thus seeing a natural ally in the HDP and, although not openly, in the PKK that acts as a buffer against Turkish and NATO backed advances of Islamist insurgencies.

Turkey, for its part, is cooperating with Washington and other NATO partners with regards to the autonomous Kurdish northern Iraq. Ankara does, however, oppose any attempts to use Syrian Kurdish forces as leverage against the Syrian government. Hence Ankara’s support of Turkmen “rebels”, Jabhat al-Nusrah and Islamic State in Syria’s predominantly Kurdish north.

CH/L – nsnbc 29.11.2015

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