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The following articles appeared in Bir Gün on 5 + 12 + 17 October 2014. Translated from Turkish by Tim Drayton

The Davutoğlu Doctrine, Parliament’s Approval and DAESH

Deniz Yıldırım

It was thanks to AKP-MHP cooperation that the motion approving sectarian war whose real goal, however much it is touted to be parliamentary approval for the fight against DAESH, is enmity against Syria, using DAESH to “tame” the YPG, stifling the Rojava model that enables peoples to live around a model of a secular and democratic character and driving the Syrian Kurds onto the anti-Assad front, passed through parliament. Consent was thus given under the guise of approval for war, on the one hand, to the destruction wrought by the AKP’s regional policies and, on the other, to adventures with the aim of rising once more out of the ashes of this destruction.

We have written about the real goals of this approval motion, but there is another important issue: I will raise a question and a thesis related to this question: Can the existence of DAESH be considered to be an endurance/continuation strategy on the part of the AKP?

Many conspiracy theories have been created; our concern is not such theories, but, rather, the manner in which the AKP is utilising, or attempting to utilise, DAESH geopolitics and the counter-struggle that they have engendered to redefine/repromote itself to the region and country and to extricate itself from crises of meaning. This is what we will examine this and next week. This is important, because in the coming months both domestic and regional politics looks set to undergo further pressure on the basis of this new definition. We also foresee an intensification of authoritarian, reactionary attacks premised on this definition. However, in order to examine this, there is a need for the strategic crisis that gave rise to DAESH to be understood and made clear. Consequently, this week we will look what the Davutoğlu Doctrine or Neo-Ottoman fantasy was and how/why it was repelled.

It is no great secret that the Neo-Ottomanist fantasy code-named the Davutoğlu Doctrine was a sectarian-reactionary political strategy aimed at bringing the region under control and which, while not conflicting with the Atlantic alliance, envisaged the creation of a field of influence and the prospect of permanence/indispensability for the AKP under the guise of bringing about internal and external transformation.

In this respect, the appointing of Davutoğlu as a minister marked the adoption by the AKP of a new active strategy for defining and promoting itself in the international arena following 9/11. The following words expressed by Davutoğlu after he had been made foreign minister in 2009 characterise the model in all of its aspects: “Our approach to the matters of the Middle East, Caucasia, the Balkans and energy security is virtually the same as that of the USA. Consequently, a period of golden cooperation beckons in our future relations with the USA. Turkey will contribute to the global order in re-establishing regional sub-orders in its surroundings and this will constitute the new post-Cold War world order.” The final sentence attests to the sense attached to the goal of involvement in the project of using hegemonic means to control the Middle East and integrate it into the system and of bolstering its own position in strategic terms both domestically and in the region such that it is not brought into conflict with the Atlantic umbrella and remains within its parameters. Let us bring this emphatically to the attention of those who would ascribe anti-imperialism to the AKP.

The political capital acquired in return for this duty of “establishing order” and controlling the region was then to be exploited in the form of reactionary attacks under new regimes installed by the AK-Ikhwan grouping of parties; a blind eye was to be turned to actors pursuing a state-driven politically Islamic agenda and all that had been constructed or remained by way of secularism was to be pushed into oblivion by “Moderately Islamic” regimes that were to be of a hegemonic nature, pro-market, pro-West and integrated into the system. The AKP would stand at the centre of this new moderate Islamic internationalism that would crystallise around it and, under this version of hegemony, the region would both acquire “stability” and the former would also make its existence even more indispensable domestically; this was a kind of endurance strategy. Therefore, in the process, named “restoration” by Davutoğlu and steered through by Erdoğan, it was perceived from its outset that transformations in domestic politics and foreign politics would be conditional on one another and supportive of one another. Erdoğan’s comment that, “Syria is our domestic affair” was more than just a “historical” reference. Indeed, the Gulf agents of reaction and the AKP regime expended all of the energy they devoted to creating this new order on overthrowing the Assad regime in Syria. In this way, on the one hand, Iran’s geopolitical alliances in the region would be broken and Iran would be isolated and, on the other, new sect-based political transformations would be fostered, starting with Syria.

At this juncture, the attempts at political revolution known as the “spring” caused the old regimes and the status quo in the Middle East to wobble; the idea of dampening the revolutionary spirit with AK-Ikhwan style administrations, appearing to be the most sensible option in imperialist and regional hegemonic circles, made fearful of the potential consequences of the organised radicalism of the broad masses of the people, who had been denied the option of an organised leadership. Davutoğlu now felt that his “time” had really come; his avowed intention of participating in Friday prayers at the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus within two months was an expression of this self-confidence. The AKP and Qatar joined forces in the endeavour both to overthrow the Assad regime and to install a belt of AK-Ikhwan style administrations in the region; US imperialism supported this new tactic, which did not contradict with its own regional strategy. In short, imperialism, having suffered great losses as a result of waging war directly in Iraq, pursued a new strategy in Syria. As a regional control strategy, the merits of overthrowing the Assad regime based on Sunni reaction in the Middle East and the “moderate” Ikhwan/Islamist transformations started in Turkey under the AKP’s stewardship became visibly more compelling and the two prongs fused together. In the steps taken domestically by the AKP after 2008 toward transformation into a dictatorial regime, it forever placed its trust this new sense of regional functionalism and indispensability. The AKP was the process’s political-ideological model, Qatar its financer and the USA its protector and guiding big brother. The AKP would Ikhwanise and Ikhwan would AKP-ise. The first of these took place but the main strategy collapsed and the USA acted as it always does: just as the main employer never takes responsibility for corporate manslaughter, so in recent days the USA has passed the blame for all of the turmoil in Syria and the region to its subcontractors so as to evade liability; Qatar has expelled Ikhwan and Kerry and Biden have announced that responsibility for the situation in Syria rests with Turkey, Qatar and Saudi for resorting to all means in the attempt to overthrow Assad.

It had indeed hit the rocks; Syria resisted; a proxy struggle was waged over Syria which would lay bare the new geopolitical alignments of the 21st century; Iran and China, but mainly Russia, blocked this new strategy in the new great game and the project of the alliance between the US and Sunni reaction to control the Middle East with these new tools was driven out of here and the Assad regime remained in place. This was not all, with the sectarian civil war strategy that had been imported into the region ending in fiasco, it was also not long before the attempt to control the Middle East under the AK-Ikhwan model also suffered reversals in Tunisia, Egypt and Syria. Simultaneously, the June Rebellion tarnished the model domestically. It thus became impossible, as the AKP had hoped, to install a belt of AKP-ised Ikhwan administrations around it and Ikhwan had clearly become liquidated. Meanwhile, the AKP, having spoken of making borders in the region meaningless, put up barbed wire and walls and dug ditches between itself and Rojava; the AKP virtually became deprived of any diplomatic representation in the region. AKP insiders attempted to explain away this huge crisis under the rubric of “precious loneliness”. It was laughable.

Compounding the defiance and pressure encountered by the AKP at home, the fiasco engendered by these endeavours had a disastrous effect of crisis proportions in the foreign policy arena. This crisis, as far as the AKP was concerned, was the end of the line for the twelve-year story of trying to give itself a definition and sense and render itself functional and indispensable in the regional system. At this time, with the AKP regime searching for a means that would give it one final chance to define itself as an indispensable, valuable and functional partner and for Davutoğlu adventurism, we were confronted by the “DAESH threat”.

This entire story is one of the collapse of the destructive foreign policy strategy implemented under Davutoğlu. Has the reality of this collapse sunk in with the AKP? With Davutoğlu having been promoted to prime-minister, I will leave you to be the judge if that. On top of this, look at the way the new parliamentary approval interprets the region and its explicit Syriaphobic character. The reply is clear: the answer they seek involves obtaining authorisation for crazy moves that will deepen the crisis. In other words, the AKP has ratcheted up its aggression and adventurism so as to turn the “crisis-threat” into a new opportunity in both domestic and external politics with an eye to its endurance. The parliamentary approval is clearly the fruit of such reasoning. On the one hand, we see the AKP endeavouring to promote itself once again in domestic politics as being the representative of Moderate Islamic politics in the face of radicalism and to justify increasing moves in the direction of state-sponsored Islamisation in terms of the fight against DAESH radicalism. On the other hand, with its sectarian foreign policy agenda for the region now turning towards adventure, it betrays its true intentions of resurrecting sectarian politics in the areas attacked by the Sunni organisation that is DAESH and of opening up space for it to intervene. If the Mosul developments in Iraq that led to Maliki standing down are read in conjunction with comments by the AKP clearly threatening the PYD with DAESH attacks unless they join the anti-Assad ranks, it is clear that, rather than the force behind DAESH, we need to concern ourselves with the manner in which DAESH geopolitics and aggression are utilised by the AKP. As such, I will continue the discussion next week by posing the question: Why does DAESH appear to be an endurance strategy for the AKP regime?

DAESH and Kobane for the AKP

Last week we examined the collapse of the AKP’s Neo-Ottoman-sectarian regional strategy in the process leading to DAESH and left the question, “Can DAESH be an endurance strategy for the AKP?” to be discussed this week.

Let me first make a reminder about methodology: Our concern here is not to look for the powers behind DAESH, to concoct conspiracies or to give sociological explanations for participation in DAESH or the rise of jihadism. We are looking at DAESH’s practice, the facts and the opportunities and consequences that these have created within relations of power; in other words, we are interested in the developments that DAESH has paved the way for, rather than those that led to it.

The picture before DAESH: The sectarian strategy that was tried out in Syria through the agency of AKP-Gulf reaction under US tutelage and in which the former was to be assigned the key subsidiary duty by the US of creating order within the power vacuum after the Shiite Crescent’s influence had been broken came to nothing. Assad remained in place and, moreover, the proxy war waged over Syria which laid bare new geopolitical global alignments served to increase Russia and Iran’s influence in the region. The increasing influence of the Shiite Crescent manifested itself above all in Assad staying put in Syria and in Maliki’s policies in Iraq. It was against this background that DAESH, as an organisation of Sunni radicalism, intensified its attacks.

Today, we can say that it is enough to look at the towns which DAESH is attacking to lay bare the new strategy: This strategy, which can be summed up as “If you cannot directly overthrow your enemy, weaken him; besiege him not from the centre but at the edges,” is arguably a kind of unconventional warfare technique. DAESH is exploiting this very technique as it attacks. In an environment in which Neo-Ottoman fantasies and Sunni geopolitics, faced with Assad remaining in place and the Shiite Crescent having emerged strengthened from the sectarian strategy imposed on the region with the backing of the Western block, are seeking ways to break this influence and to give themselves scope to emerge and intervene, DAESH’s attacks are in a sense attempting to give the “kiss of life” to this collapsed strategy and its policies. It is no concern of ours if it is acting with such intent or not; its consequences give succour to this intent. The Green Crescent strategy, developed so as to surround the Soviet Union during the Cold War and which could be summarised with the sentence: “Control Islam among friends, whip it up among enemies,” is today being given a new spin through the intervention of DAESH in the form: “Control Sunniism among friends, whip it up among enemies” in opposition to the Iran/Iraq/Syria and, to an extent, Lebanon crescent, and we see DAESH having assumed a central role in this strategy. As DAESH advances, it is tasked with serving as a bridge and agent of creative “barbarism” in the breaking up of the regional status quo and the establishment a new status quo.

Now, let us discuss item by item the DAESH’s function for the AKP within this scenario.

The AKP has set out to use DAESH as a vehicle for resolving the crisis as to its function and significance in the international system and to redefine itself, its role and values through DAESH. The AKP has anticipated, as it suffers difficulties and crises in various areas, an intensification of developments to its detriment; within this interpretation, stressing the risk of DAESH’s regional presence and model spreading to Turkey, it turns DAESH into a guarantee for its own safety and spins it into an inward-looking political endurance strategy. Against the background of Ikhwan’s retrogression, this would appear to be an endeavour to create fresh space for Moderate Islamic definitions and tasks in the face of DAESH radicalism and to bring about some kind of restoration. This kind of subtext (a kind of stick) is apparent in all of its proclamations for the benefit of the West. In short, it is saying: “If you permit the pro-market and pro-West Islamist regime that I have constructed here to be undermined, there will be a ‘rupture’ in the broad conservative base which I have controlled and mollified within the system, the feeling will be created that people are denied the opportunity of expressing their preferences in an electoral manner and radical tendencies on our doorstep such as DAESH will gain a base from which to grow in Turkey, so do not abandon us.” This subtext rings out loud and clear as the AKP seeks to utilise DAESH as an endurance strategy in the endeavour to guarantee its existence in the face of mounting crises and difficulties. On the other hand, this is no secret within Western corridors of power. Indeed, these very corridors are openly sharing with the world the “intelligence” in their possession concerning the AKP’s contribution towards the growth and development of DAESH, and are marshalling this information to counter with an “endurance strategy” which does not abandon the AKP but clips its wings and brings it under control in the interests of keeping checks on the AKP within the region and of “sorting out” the DAESH problem that has been created. In the process, they also exonerate themselves as far as their own role is concerned. We see the most recent pronouncements of Kerry and Biden moving in this direction.

From the AKP’s point of view, the existence of DAESH has at the same time been made into a means for confirming, justifying and accelerating its religionisation policies and looks set to further serve that purpose. As DAESH’s influence has increased over the past few weeks, we have seen an increasing number of examples demonstrating this. For example, with Davutoğlu saying that compulsory religious education had prevented DAESH-like entities from emerging in Turkey and that thanks to religious vocational high schools radical Islamisation had not occurred in Turkey, or with Erdoğan stating last week that if it were not for compulsory religious education “terror” entities such as DAESH would develop, further moves in the direction of religionisation have been justified in terms of such functionality and with recourse to DAESH. Then, last week, the Minister of Religious Affairs announced that an Islamic University similar to Al-Azhar would be established in Turkey to counter radical formations like DAESH. In short, sharing a “border” with DAESH henceforth appears, and will appear, to be both an excuse for religionisation by the AKP and a pretext for increasing its dose. The AKP is justifying its religionisation strategy with recourse to DAESH, stressing its unavoidability as a “security” concept and is invoking the DAESH threat in the attempt to secure permanence for Islamism in the face of ever greater losses for Islamism and Ikhwanism in the region.

These are the internal political effects. What about the regional effects? The AKP says, deriving a discourse of Sunni rebellion from the existence of DAESH, that DAESH emerged as a result of the failure for Shiite/Alawite influence to be stemmed and for permission to be given for the installation of AKP-Ikhwan-style regimes in the Middle East. The AKP thus presents DAESH, rather than as being a consequence of its own sectarian policies and strategy of exporting civil war to neighbouring countries, as being a consequence of the failure for its regional strategy, its Neo-Ottoman fantasy, to be implemented and verified and for its recommendations to be brought about. This view is tantamount to saying that if Maliki and Assad had gone and the way had been paved for Ikhwan to come to power in Syria, DAESH would not have been born. Indeed, the parliamentary approval reflects just this mentality and thus takes the form of approval more for struggle/war with the Syrian regime than for fighting DAESH. The AKP, which finds the root of every domestic problem from drugs to “terror” in society not being sufficiently “religious”, also attributes every problem in the region to governments not being Sunni and Islamist. Islamism is blended into foreign policy, as is the Neo-Ottoman regional strategy into domestic policy.

In the same vein, the AKP is endeavouring to resolve the crisis of its Neo-Ottoman, sectarian policy with a step that will further deepen this crisis, and to extricate its sectarian regional strategy from crisis and bring it back to life. A look at the events ensuing from DAESH’s assault on Mosul strengthens the feeling that the policy of neutralising the Shiite Crescent through DAESH was unleashed in Iraq: let us recall: the Sunni leader under Turkey’s protection, Hashimi, described this as a “Sunni revolution;” the US remained silent and said that it would not intervene against the advance on Baghdad unless Maliki, who for a long time had excluded Kurdish and Sunni politics and thought he had brought Iraq under Shiite influence and had helped to shore up Assad’s position, resigned. The first result was that the AKP, USA and KDP partnership’s goal of ridding itself of Maliki so as to weaken Shiite influence in Iraq was achieved and Maliki went. The second result was that the USA conducted an operation as DAESH was advancing on Erbil and blocked it, and Kirkuk, which Barzani had previously described as “the heart of Kurdistan” and over which he had said “If necessary we will wage war,” passed to the Iraqi Kurdish Administration. The taking of Kirkuk, with its 100 year petrol reserves and its 50% contribution towards Iraq’s central petroleum income, from the Iraqi central administration/Shiite influence and handing it over to the Barzani administration marked a new stage in both regional energy geopolitics and in weakening the central Iraqi administration. The consequence: thanks to DAESH’s attack on Mosul, the Sunni-sectarian axis had returned to Iraqi politics with a strengthened hand, the USA had returned to Iraqi politics in imposing the condition that Maliki go, and the Barzani administration, which the AKP perceived to be an “ideal” ally in its Neo-Ottoman fantasies, had received a boost in its move towards independence with the acquisition of a critical town within the petrol/pipe line equation.

Another of the functions of DAESH for the AKP’s endurance strategy is laid bare by DAESH’s “strategic” assaults on Kobane. It wishes to “tame” the Rojava Kurds, who have not raised arms against the Assad regime and the peoples of Syria during this sectarian war of three years’ standing and have not aligned themselves with reactionary elements in the name of “opposition”; to ensure that the PYD moves onto the anti-Assad front and thus deprive Assad of support and allies in Syria and weaken the regime’s remaining front and to disable the Shiite front by isolating it. The position adopted by the AKP with reference to DAESH’s assaults on Kobane make full sense in terms of this function. When Yalçın Akdoğan’s words, “You will decide wisely as to whom you will put your trust in” in expression of the intention to “tame” the Kurds with DAESH, Davutoğlu’s calls to “Cross to the anti-Assad front” and, most recently, Erdoğan’s statements, laced with threat, that “Today’s events in Kobane will happen tomorrow in Haseke and in Afrin” are taken in conjunction, it is clear how DAESH’s assaults serve as an “instrument” for the AKP. In this regard, we can say that the Kobane assaults well and truly lay bare the role assumed by DAESH within the AKP’s endurance strategy.

The AKP wishes to prevent the Kurdish movement, through the Rojava canton model, as a model of secular and democratic coexistence, from determining the content of the “solution” process that may be summarised as being a plan whereby Syria’s Kurds fight against Assad and Turkey’s Kurds do not fight against the AKP; to define the contents of the solution from within its own sectarian regional strategy. In this respect, the strategy of “taming” the Syrian Kurds with DAESH, just as much as it is regional/foreign policy-oriented and is of a Syriaphobic nature, at the same time impacts on domestic policy. We have seen this more clearly in the events of the past five days in our country. When DAESH’s assaults on Kobane and the AKP’s calls to “abandon the cantons” are analysed in conjunction, it becomes clear that the AKP’s goal is to use DAESH’s assaults to give reactionary-sectarian content to the solution and to destroy the Rojava model. As such, the significance of DAESH’s assaults within the AKP’s endurance strategy is in tying the Kurdish problem in with war in Syria and the reactionary-sectarian solution in Turkey. It is once again apparent that the AKP has from the outset read the “solution process” from within a policy of Neo-Ottoman sectarian regional destruction and, in line with this, it premises “peace” in Turkey on war in in Syria.

So, will all of these strategies work? Next week we will discuss war as the content of the solution with reference to the Kobane Rising.

The Lessons of Kobane

It has been on the verge of falling for twelve days now. Far from falling, Kobane is resisting; the resistance is spoiling the AKP’s plans for regional “depth” as well as its “international concept” of using DAESH to “tame” Kobane; both the USA and, in keeping with the USA’s stance, the AKP are changing their tactics with regard to KDP Rojava. We will discuss the USA’s changed position elsewhere; this matter is important and the phenomenon of anti-imperialism must be addressed from a progressive-internationalist standpoint, but let us this week, with regard to the nature of the Kobane Resistance, look at Turkish politics, the “solution process” and what we need to do in mounting a progressive response.

Kobane is a district that borders on Turkey. It is one of three cantons where the Rojava model, which Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs and Armenians, i.e. different peoples, have erected on a democratic, participatory and secular base, finds application. This canton-based governmental system portrays itself as being a new non-state-centred model for coexistence in the struggle for a democratic-secular Syria and Middle East and rather than demanding an independent state for the peoples of the region, not least the Kurds, it proposes that they embrace policies of democratic unity through this model in the countries where they live.

The reasons for the barbaric DAESH assaults on this canton are apparent - we discussed them last week. The AKP wants the Syrian Kurds to be soldiers in the fight against Assad, to cooperate with the reactionary opposition and to abandon the cantons. At this point let us raise a question by way of consistency test: Raqqa is under DAESH’s control. This means that Turkey borders on Raqqa province and its districts. How come the AKP regime, which is untroubled by DAESH’s model of government, is troubled by the cantons in the districts?

There are those who say that Kobane is the extension of a body that has raised arms against Turkey. This does not account for the AKP’s fear of Kobane. The AKP does not wish for Kobane to abandon its weapons of self-defence, it wishes for these arms to be directed at the regime, at Damascus. Let us get one thing straight: the AKP’s call to Kobane is not the call of “peace”, but the call to be its soldiers in the fight against Assad. It is the call not to “Put down arms”, but to “Point them at Damascus.”

Another contradiction: The AKP, which advances hand in hand with the governmental/class model promoted by Barzani, the ideal ally in the Kurdish question, has implied that, with the Iraqi Kurdish administration speaking of an independence referendum as Kirkuk passed to the administration, it will recognise such a state. This means, first, that the real issue is not the fear of a Kurdish state on its borders and, second, the issue is that, if arms were to be directed against Turkey from across the border, the Qandil are in fact not in Kobane but within the borders of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Therefore, the “security” discourse that has been resurrected around Kobane is nothing more than a veneer over the unease felt over Kobane by the AKP and the new authoritarian coalition that is forming around it and, when scraped a little, this veneer falls off in flakes. In truth, the AKP regards Kobane from within the Neo-Ottoman design for the region and country. We must note that, in this regard, the Kobane process serves as a litmus test for the meaning the AKP attaches to the “solution process”.

Why? Let us once more resort to headings.

1) HDP co-president Selahattin Demirtaş posed the question at Tuesday’s group meeting: “When we earlier sat at the table you did not say that Rojava was different and the process was different and accepted this; what has happened to make you change your mind?” Both this question and its answer are important. This information supplied by him confirms that for the AKP, the “peace” process in Turkey and the Neo-Ottoman process of war aimed at overthrowing Assad in Syria were of a mutually complementary nature. The AKP premised peace in Turkey on war in Syria. In this strategic planning aimed at Assad’s overthrow, Rojava was thus not initially a problem. However, the equation has now changed. Assad has remained in place; a massive geopolitical force has assembled behind him. In the project whereby the AKP had drafted in the Kurds, who were now alluding toward “National Pact” boundaries as per Öcalan’s letter of 21 March, as a kind of Neo-Ottoman police in the project to control the region, and wished to obtain a guarantee that they would deactivate the Kurdish wing of the opposition front in Turkey, the fight over content has now moved beyond these premises. The AKP cannot conclude the process, at least not until the critical 2015 elections. In place of concluding the process, it wishes to “readjust the balances” to take account of Assad’s survival. There is no room left to dally and play for time; content will now be discussed. The information given by Demirtaş lends itself to just such an interpretation. The “solution process”, which the AKP had from the very outset premised on its designs for the region, is changing track now that the design has hit up against a wall. Thus, the struggle being waged over Kobane is at the same time a struggle over the content of the solution process. The AKP wishes, prior to “negotiations” according with the new circumstances, to “rid itself” of the Rojava canton model; the Kurdish Movement wishes to secure institutionalisation/recognition of the canton model within the content of the process in Turkey.

2) The Kobane model is a threat to the AKP and this threat is not new; it stretches from TEKEL to Gezi and from Gezi to Kobane. The AKP hates every endeavour which stands in the way of its project of structuring public life on a hierarchic, patriarchal, religious and market basis, aspires towards liveable spaces, streets, parks, quarters, workplaces and towns and serves as visible evidence that the AKP’s lifestyle model is not without alternative by recasting it in a secular, democratic, participatory, freedom-loving and publically oriented mould. With this in mind, we must note that, for precisely the same reason that the AKP wished to crush the sixteen-day attempt to organise a new way of life in Gezi Park, it wishes to crush Kobane. Even if this is difficult, it must be seen that Gezi’s bottom-down, democratic, freedom-loving lifestyle model is that of the people of Kobane; Kobane’s secular-democratic model that makes religion into something other than an instrument of political exploitation and brings women into every sphere of political and social life was the aspiration of the broad June masses. The AKP’s essential strength is in keeping this unseen; in weakening the front opposed to it by keeping up the hostility between the worlds of secular meaning and politics.

3) The struggle to define the content of the Kobane Resistance process, on the other hand, has laid bare the basic content as far as the AKP is concerned in the “solution process” in which, so far, no concrete steps or road map have been announced. In this context, the assaults unleashed by DAESH on Kobane and Hizbulkontra on Diyarbakır, the “resolve” to replace each destroyed riot control vehicle with five or ten new ones, “answering in kind,” the claims that “it is on the verge of falling” and, finally, the new dictatorial judicial package that has been touted on the pretext of the Kobane protests, in their totality, have laid bare the coercive nature of the process. No sooner had the “religious brotherhood” solution as a form of moral coercion in the “solution process” come to a dead end than the AKP resorted to stepping up material coercion; the content of the solution has been defined by the AKP in the way that it ups the “pressure” against all social opposition.

The inception of a new phase is augured by the political alliances forged under the approval passed through parliament during the Kobane process by the ever more authoritarian AKP, whose goal is plainly to see social-political opposition crushed. The AKP, which on the one hand is testing out its alliances in the oppressive regime that the Kurdish problem will help it to consolidate, is, on the other hand, turning Kobane into an opportunity to suppress/subdue social-political opposition in Turkey in the new judicial package that it has brought before parliament. Each move in the direction of external war seems at the same time to be the pretext for a further stepping up of the “civil war” against the people domestically; one complements the other. Let us be clear that with dictatorship in the west of Turkey there can be no democracy in the east; when there is a state of emergency in the east democracy does not flourish in the west. A united, integrated resistance will be forged on the back of this reality. The time has come for a movement that combines the resistances and will unite Turkey around progressive, democratic solutions. The alternative is annihilation for all.

4) The Kurdish movement, having suffered attacks in Turkey, first in the 90’s from Hizbullah, and then from the AKP and Gulenists during the KCK operations, is now confronted by DAESH reaction in Syria. Indeed, DAESH, in its mid-week official announcement, stated that it was attacking Kobane because of its “secular character”. This point is important; the attack has once again brought home that the sectarian and reactionary attacks both in Turkey and in the region are in opposition to a progressive and secular joint struggle that cannot be confined to a single country.

Let us see - the developments around Kobane point to a collapse of the AKP’s attempt to solve the Kurdish problem on the basis of “religious brotherhood”. The “religious-sectarian brotherhood” solution to the Kurdish problem has been incapable of proceeding beyond a stage where the Kurds in Syria are “tamed” by DAESH and the Kurds in Turkey by Hizbulkontra.

This situation is a litmus test in another regard: It is possible in Turkey and in the region in a real sense to establish progressive-democratic secular alliances and organise models and struggles in opposition to reactionary-fascistic structures in tandem with the construction of peace in a real sense and democratic cohabitation models. It would thus be a great mistake to fight AKP reaction in Turkey and turn one’s back on the fight against DAESH in Kobane, or to fight DAESH reaction in Kobane and deny the importance of AKP reaction in Turkey. Secular politics must rid its progressive political preferences of such errors without discrimination as to lifestyle and world of meaning under the conditions in which it is under attack. It has once more become clear that the sole option by way of democratic solution for not only a movement that has suffered attacks from virtually every component in historical terms of religious politics, but also progressive forces and Turkey’s labouring masses is a new democratic and secular republic programme. As such, life dictates that the real struggle for secularism, just as much as it has a proletarian character, is an indispensable component of a democratic solution and regional peace.

It appears inevitable that a movement of joint struggle whose feet stand both on June and the progressive formations in Kobane will be formed on this axis.

And the significance of what has been experienced for Syria and regional politics? We will continue the discussion.

Archive of Turkish press translations by Tim Drayton