According to Turkish news agency NTV, the Kurdish militant group PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) has kidnapped a member of the parliament; this appeared as ‘breaking news’ in many other Turkish media outlets just about half an hour ago and the story in unfolding as I’m writing this post.
According to news sources, Turkey’s opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy for the predominantly Kurdish south-eastern city of Tunceli – Hüseyin Aygün – was declared kidnapped at about 19:00 Turkish time. It is reported that Aygün was in Tunceli since August 8 and his car was stopped by PKK gunmen on his way to the city center.
This is the first time that the PKK has resorted to kidnapping parliamentary deputies and it appears to mark a new phase in PKK tactics. While previously PKK had officially declared that it would pursue a ”political and peaceful solution” to Turkey’s Kurdish question, this incident marks PKK’s withdrawal from the political solution domain and its return back to violent 1990s tactics. It is also strange that the kidnapped deputy Aygün is known for his pro-Kurdish stance and his frequent criticism of the Turkish state response to the Kurdish question.
PKK violence had been on the rise since 2010; the group had been trying to re-formulate its militancy within the context of an extension of the Arab Spring movements with reluctant support from Kurdish civilians. As Turkey, in tandem with the United States continues to supply Syrian resistance with arms and finances, Damascus and Tehran had been retaliating by arming and supporting the PKK against Turkey. A major 3-week Turkish military sweep operation was finalized yesterday and was deemed a success.
In a longer article, I had evaluated the dangers of PKK’s extension into northern Syria via its acolyte PYD group. Yesterday, Secretary of the State Hillary Clinton had conducted a series of high-level meetings in Turkey and declared that the PKK’s spread into northern Syria is ‘unacceptable’.
If you feel alien to all this, please refer to my analysis report, which sums up Turkey’s Kurdish question and AKP’s response to it.