Dozens of Kurdish fighters and several Turkish soldiers have lost their lives in bloody clashes in Turkey’s southeast this week, and the shadow of civil war is increasingly seen day by day.
Increasingly, signs that ongoing clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish fighters may soon turn into a full-scale civil war, with much of the Kurdish population involved, have caused deep concern.
Ankara’s hardline politicians and Turkish nationalists across the country are pouring oil onto the flames with violent rhetoric.
“The operations carried out by the Turkish Armed Forces, gendarmerie and police will continue in the region in a steadfast manner until public security is established,” a recent statement by Turkey’s General Staff reads.
Over a hundred fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have been killed in action in the south-east province of Sirnak this week, according to Turkish media. In a full-scale military operation launched on Tuesday, two government soldiers were killed while 23 others, including members of the police, were injured.
This course of events is what many have been warning against.
“When we see these moves, we will know that Pandora’s Box has been opened and we can expect that both sides are heading to a level of violence that could become a civil war,” Metin Gurcan, a Turkish analyst, wrote for Al Monitor earlier this week.
Before the “anti-PKK” operation, as the Turks call their military actions in Cizre, Silopi, and other spots, both PKK and the government forces had been telling civilians to leave the area or go into hiding. Now, peace in this part of the Middle East looks a lot like war.