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    On the strategy in the fight against the PKK
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 23 August 2012
    We have to acknowledge that without providing security, other economic, social and diplomatic tools will not yield any results. After the collapse of negotiations with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in May 2011, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government explained its strategy on the PKK problem as “negotiating with politicians and fighting terrorism.” It was an attractive slogan, but its implementation proved to be difficult. The politics and security environment has been changing not only in Turkey, but also in the region. Unfortunately, there is a security meltdown going on in southeastern Turkey, in which the protracted Şemdinli conflict, the car bombings in Gaziantep, and the abduction of Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Huseyin Aygün have been prominent re [More]
    The paper war
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 16 August 2012
    The U.S. and the U.K., Turkey’s allies, do not want to disappoint Turkey on the Syria issue. According to statements made following U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Turkey, the two countries will work together on the Syria issue as regards intelligence and plans for any military intervention. It is natural that providing the intelligence that will shape future plans will take a long time, and military, political, diplomatic, and humanitarian improvements mean that it is possible to create various intervention options. In other words, the generals and intelligence officers of both countries have deduced from the “paper war” in Syria that the time for its end cannot yet be predicted. [More]
    Proxy war and the PKK
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 09 August 2012
    Nowadays, everyone is asking the reasons for the increase in outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) attacks. However, if there are about 5,000 to 6,000 militants in your mountains, it should not be a surprise for you to receive news of attacks. Yet, the intensity of an increase/decrease in attacks can be still a subject of curiosity.The history of the PKK shows us that there is a direct relationship between the intensity of attacks and some variables, such as the season, the political situation in the country, internal crises in the organization and changes in the balance of regional politics. Based on changes in the balance of regional politics, this article aims to explain the reasons why the intensity of PKK attacks is rising. For many years, Turkey’s southern neighbors have b [More]
    Between realities and dreams: the future of Syria
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 02 August 2012
    The fire in Syria will extinguish with its own domestic dynamics, which will cause numerous civilian deaths. At the beginning of the week, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters that the Turkish Government wanted to see the end of the Syria crisis soon. In addition, he also mentioned a new “Syria” whose integrity is protected and whose autonomy and federation is not in question. According to explanations, Syria must never be Lebanon. Indeed, this would be a disaster not only for Syria but also for the whole region. However, we know that these issues will not continue with hopes. At this point, the question is: How realistic are the desires specified above at present? [More]
    The meaning of the Syrian civil war for the PKK
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 26 July 2012
    Strong links were formed between Syria’s intelligence service and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the 1970s. Father [Hafez] al-Assad was one of the prominent sponsors of the PKK. He had to give up his policy of sponsoring the PKK in October 1998 when he was “clearly threatened.” Although al-Assad deported PKK leader [Abdullah] Öcalan from Syria, he was careful not to confront the PKK directly. He continued his relationship with the PKK behind closed doors.These days, the al-Assad regime has been losing control in some parts of Syria where Kurds live. In the region, it seems that the PKK’s front organization the Democratic Unionist Party (PYD) has taken control. These developments will have a military, political and psychological impact on Turkey. This article aims to e [More]
    Erdoğan’s Russia visit and the Syria issue
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 19 July 2012
    Information about and comments on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to Russia have been debated in the media. One of the reasons this visit is so important is Russia and Turkey opposing policies on Syria. Sharing their views on Syria will force both sides to make important decisions. In light of what he learns on this visit, Erdoğan will make significant decisions about his Syria policy.The prediction that Russia will not change its approach towards Syria and will not support Erdoğan will not be an overstatement, because there are various reasons behind Russia’s support for [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad’s regime. These reasons are ideological, geopolitical, economic, military, and psychological. Thus, it is not possible for Russia to change its position, at le [More]
    The Leyla Zana Case
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 12 July 2012
    Leyla Zana was able to find a place in the media with her female, Kurdish identity and experiences in jail. Her explanation on a solution to the Kurdish problem, which ascribed a special role to Prime Minister Erdoğan, provoked reactions in the media. Erdoğan was not silent. He reacted kindly and smartly, and then he negotiated with Zana. Unfortunately, the negotiation that started optimistically and with exaggerated meanings fell from the agenda, and some people could not understand this. This article analyzes the “Zana case” in terms of these actors. During this period, we saw Erdoğan’s ability to manage public opinion one more time. He did the right thing for himself and for his party, because he could not keep silent on an explanation that was full of messages of peace and b [More]
    Turkey’s and Syria’s proxy war capacity
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 05 July 2012
    The tension in Turkey-Syria relations is rising. For now, no one expects a conventional war. However, this does not mean that there is no struggle. While diplomatic and psychological warfare continue, the preparation for proxy war goes on. Developments show that the parties are setting up the gravity points of their strategies on proxy war, which would be long-standing and abrasive and would have unpredictable results. Turkey is trying to organize a proxy war by bringing out Syrian opposition groups. However, Turkey is at the first step and its task is difficult. During this period, Syria is busy. It might plan to use the PKK, which is Turkey’s Achilles’ heel, or might plan to trigger sectarian Marxist organizations, which had strong ties during the Cold War with the Syrian intell [More]
    Is the post-al-Assad era important?
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 21 June 2012
    Political targets which are not clarified at the beginning would break down allies as time passes. The conflicts in Syria are turning out to be a civil war. The number of questions that politicians are supposed to answer is increasing. In this regard, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu indicated a significant point, “We have to focus on the post-al-Assad era.” He is right in his explanation: Unless politicians compromise on the desired post-al-Assad period, it is impossible to manage developments in Syria. [More]
    Iran, Turkey and the Kurds
    Nihat Ali Özcan, PhD 14 June 2012
    As has been foreseen, the attacks of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have begun to increase with the coming of summer. We are receiving a lot of conflict news, especially from the border with Iraq and towns.Nowadays, we are witnessing interesting developments in particular about the PKK and about the Kurdish problem in general. Despite all the difficulties, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is continuing his rhetoric of “fighting against terrorists, negotiating with politicians.” In this regard, he is taking some steps, such as allowing Kurdish language teaching in schools. On the other side, Beşir Atalay, Turkey’s deputy prime minister, is drawing a much more promising picture. According to him, initiatives are being taken to “disarm the PKK” with the help of northern Iraqi [More]