The Wall Street Journal reports: A post-coup crackdown in Turkey has expanded into the restive Kurdish minority’s heartland, exacerbating tensions after a rare show of solidarity by Kurdish lawmakers with the democratically elected government.
Turkey’s Education Ministry suspended 11,285 teachers this month for allegedly supporting Kurdish separatists. The government also removed by decree 24 elected mayors from pro-Kurdish parties accused of aiding the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the moves are part of a campaign against Kurdish terror groups, billing it as the biggest operation yet against the PKK. But the fresh crackdown worries some in Turkey and its Western allies that the policies are stoking ethnic rivalries, rather than capitalizing on a brief sense of national unity to negotiate an end to the PKK’s three-decade uprising.
As F-16s attacked the national assembly during the July 15 coup attempt, Kurdish lawmakers stood there in solidarity with other lawmakers and joined an extraordinary parliament session to adopt a resolution in defense of democracy.
But even as Mr. Erdogan has warmed relations with two other opposition parties, he has ignored Kurdish overtures and the government has ruled out peace talks.
Prosecutors have pressed on with PKK-related terrorism charges against dozens of lawmakers from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party, or HDP, while Mr. Erdogan dropped some 1,500 charges against other opposition lawmakers for insulting the president.
“There is a systematic embargo against us,” said Figen Yuksekdag, co-chair of the HDP. “If the HDP is ostracized, that will raise the risk of a coup and civil war.” [Continue reading…]