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    Barzani as the “Third Party”
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 29 March 2012
    Since last week, “new strategies” in the struggle with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK have been being argued. To me, the main problem was not “the new strategy,” but lack of a loud and clear political target. In other saying, which political target will be realized thanks to the aforementioned strategy is beyond us. When regarded, one may say the purpose of the “new strategy” is not achieving progress on the PKK question, but at the most is a search of how to steer through “two calm summer seasons” without PKK attacks. Is that possible? To understand this, looking at the setup of the “new strategy” is required. As far as it is concerned, the main actor of the “new strategy” is Masoud Barzani. Purportedly, he will work hard and sincerely for Turkey. Thus Turkey will be at ease. Howe [More]
    Two calm summers
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 22 March 2012
    Leaders who have to live with problems that are left hanging in the air are bound to deal with more complicated problems than those that are visible. That kind of problem is fatally related to every issue in the country in a way. One cannot deal separately with any issue as if there were no Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) problem. You have to keep it in your mind always. In light of this, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will try to deal with complicated problems in the coming months, problems like domestic political struggles becoming more and more complicated on one hand, and problems in foreign policy getting to be as complicated on the other. In addition, those two problems interact with each other. In domestic politics, the most important issue which interests Erdoğan perso [More]
    Make room for non-state actors
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 15 March 2012
    Saying the Syrian regime is about to die is, of course, not an assertive prophecy. People know that it is not possible for the al-Assad regime to set itself free from the “democracy” tsunami that has occurred in the region. As the conflict gets longer and spreads, the central authority is becoming increasingly challenged. Inevitably, the collapse of the economy is accelerating and the regime is losing its legitimacy in the public eye. Chaos producing the potential of insurgencies is also taking effect in the country. As developments unfold like this, diplomatic help would become meaningless after a while and turn into only a bargaining chip. OK, one may say the regime is about to die, even if it is difficult to indicate the date clearly. However, the basic question in minds is t [More]
    Lessons of the ‘humanitarian corridor’
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 08 March 2012
    As for Turkey, the apparent “humanitarian corridor” that was applied in Iraq after the First Gulf War was evidently not educational enough. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is increasingly becoming rigid on Syria. Opponents are continuing their meetings in Istanbul under the auspices of Turkey. Mr. Minister is complaining that international actors were not sufficiently solicitous about the issue, while saying he feels anxious about a turn of the screw of the situation in Syria. [More]
    Intelligence wars: quo vadis?
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 01 March 2012
    The rapidly changing agenda in Turkey doesn’t mean disputed issues have been resolved. Problems are either frozen or kept waiting until they will be argued again. Though they are less public than before, the intelligence wars are actually continuing behind closed doors; let’s take a close look at them. Open sources indicate that the struggle among intelligence organizations is continuing. Despite a political leader like Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, attacks on the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) are evolving to systematic “psychological operations.”There are two sides to these psychological operations; institutional and representative. One of the parties, police intelligence, is comprised of unlimited manpower, a high technical intelligence capability, a swollen budget, active [More]
    The PKK and the ‘Child Soldiers’
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 23 February 2012
    Turkey has been struggling with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for a long time. The question has, of course, political, legal, economic, social and psychological aspects. Among the most important aspects of the issue, which has been ignored up to now, is the “child soldiers” who have been abused for various purposes. A survey which I conducted with a friend of mine on the data regarding the age, gender, region, survival time and so on of the PKK recruits has pointed out how serious a problem we are facing. The survey is based mainly on the data of 1,362 militants among the PKK’s mountain cadres who lost their lives for various reasons between 2001 and September 2011. According to this, 12 percent of armed militants were females while 88 percent were males. Some 73.3 percent of [More]
    Contribution to MİT Debate
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 16 February 2012
    Details of the negotiations carried out behind closed doors between the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and the PKK have been brought into the open through the police and the judiciary. As in all covert operations, those “secret negotiations” were problematic “morally and legally,” and, as a matter of fact, the allegations are quite serious and shocking for public opinion. Allegedly, MİT had the KCK, a front organization of the PKK, established, operated, and condoned some of its acts. A debate about which accusations are realities, fantasies and mistakes has started.The process was initiated, just like previous “media operations,” by leaking information and documents out, which had to be kept confidential at the investigation phase. Oddly enough, this time the government [More]
    Syria, Turkey and military intervention
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 09 February 2012
    The changing nature of the clashes indicates Syria is drifting into a civil war. Long-lasting fights mean more pain for Syrian people. However, without foreign intervention, regime change and a solution seem difficult. How long the fights last will depend on the Syrian military. Unless middle and low ranking officers who form the backbone of the military desert, the military can resume operations to preserve its position. The civilian bureaucracy is also an important factor in that sense. The attitude of the countries that support Bashar and his regime is also important: China, Russia and particularly Iran are extending the current Syrian regime’s life. The political culture and character of the regime indicate the fights will last a long time. In particular the lack of a culture [More]
    Turkey, Israel and Hamas
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 02 February 2012
    The Palestine question was the most popular issue in the Turkish political Islam movement between 1960 and 1980. It had an extremely significant role in building the political Islam identity of the country. [More]
    The PKK question and Erdoğan’s tough choice
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 26 January 2012
    The agenda is changing with dizzying speed in Turkey, but there are unchangeable issues, like the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) question. Unfortunately, as winter ends, we all know that we will start talking about PKK violence soon.For the first time in a while, family members tried to visit PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan on the island where he is serving his sentence. However, he refused to meet with his visitors and forwarded only a brief note. “The process is very fragile. It is not correct to meet at this stage. Everything is entangled. We will not meet.” Öcalan’s isolation, which has continued since last summer, has thus been extended further, but this time on his own accord. When considering experiences after a summer of fierce conflict, Öcalan’s reaction, as well as the governme [More]