Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is celebrating his party’s victory in the Nov. 1 elections by intensifying attacks on the Kurds. The Wall Street Journal reports:
While Mr. Erdogan and the dominant political party he founded celebrated their victory in Sunday’s election, the Turkish military staged new attacks on Monday against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as the PKK, which has been branded as a terrorist force by Turkey, the U.S. and European Union.
The Turkish military confirmed the strikes on Tuesday, and the PKK said it was clear that Mr. Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had no intentions of resuming peace talks.
“This is war,” Zagros Hiwa, a PKK spokesman said Monday night as Turkish jets were carrying out their attacks. “On election night, Mr. Davutoglu said the strikes would continue, he said our struggle will continue with determination, and I think it was an indication of these strikes.”
The government also arrested 44 accused members of the Gulenist opposition group, and shut down a left-wing magazine. Moreover, the new cabinet is stacked with AKP members who are reportedly personally loyal to Erdogan himself. While the AKP lacks the parliamentary supermajority necessary to reform the constitution, Erdogan may, it seems, be tempted to see just how far a combination of majoritarianism, war-mongering, and thuggery can take him.
As we noted immediately after the elections, Erdogan came into power promising to heal Turkey’s ethnic divisions and overcome its authoritarian past, but in the last year he has hung on to power by embracing division and authoritarianism. His moves after this latest victory seem to indicate Erdogan is, as Fleetwood Mac sang, never going back again.