Fehim Taştekin writes: Guns had fallen silent thanks to a de facto cease-fire and the peace process had been moving along, if not at desired pace. The country was preparing for general elections when clashes broke out between the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) at Agri, a province near the border with Iran. Suddenly, Turkey found itself experiencing terror and chaos. The clashes in Agri followed warnings that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) might resort to provocation as it tries to set up a presidential system and ensure that the pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP) does not cross the 10% electoral threshold.
Mayhem ensued. Even before the clashes ended, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the HDP of politicking under the shadow of guns. HDP Co-chair Selahattin Demirtas accused the AKP of panicking over unfavorable opinion polls, saying, “What happened at Agri was a pre-planned provocation.”
What was the incident that amplified political tensions so much?
According to the government version, in the village of Yukaritufek of Diyadin township in Agri province, PKK members organized a spring festival. The government received intelligence that the terror outfit would use the occasion to spread propaganda and pressure people to vote for the HDP in coming elections. The governor of Agri instructed the provincial gendarmerie command to send a special forces detachment of 15 soldiers to the location. It was reported that terrorists opened rifle fire on soldiers deployed near the village. After 12 hours of combat, the TSK announced that four soldiers had been wounded, five PKK members had been killed and one had been captured. [Continue reading…]