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TURKEY – A SUSPICIOUS COMMITMENT IN THE FIGHT AGAINST ISIS

A month ago, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, facing both the lack of popularity of his party and renewed hostilities with Kurds, has resolved to persecute the militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K. As a result jails are filling with militants, forests are burnt and food stocks destroyed to curb the power of the PKK in the country.
The violence between the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and Turkish security forces continues to escalate. Each day there are new victims and the risk of a civil war is rising. The future hinges on Prime Minister Erdogan -- and whether he chooses diplomacy over military confrontation.
A month ago, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, facing both the lack of popularity of his party and renewed hostilities with Kurds, resolved to persecute the militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. As a result, jails are filling with militants, forests are being burnt and food stocks destroyed to curb the power of the PKK in the country.

The film BAKUR was censored by the Turkish government during the 2015 International Film Festival in Istanbul.  The documentary shows the day-to-day life in the mountains of Kurdistan seen through the eyes of the Kurdish fighters.
In the recent national elections (June 2015), the Islamist Justice and Development Party has indeed lost its parliamentary majority. For many, the end of a fragile 2013 ceasefire between the two sides would serve political reasons: by renewing hostilities, Erdogan would stoke nationalist sentiments and regain lost votes in a new election. For others, the ceasefire was just a logical consequence to the escalating violence against the authorities that killed 20 soldiers and police officers in July.

At the same time, by fighting against IS alongside the US in Syria, Turkey has seen an opportunity to launch offensives against Kurds and restrain their territorial extension. Since July 24th, the government has been carrying out more than 400 airstrikes against the PKK in Northern Iraq.
The film ISTANBUL UNITED tells the story of three Ultra Fan Clubs of the foremost football clubs in Istanbul, which have been known for violent clashes, uniting for a common cause for the first time ever: the protests to protect Gezi Park.
As of today, the renewed tensions between the two sides have killed more than 65 Turkish soldiers and police officers, and the government has identified more than 800 people as militants. What’s more, Ankara is intimidating Kurds by using the same tactics used by the Turkish Army in the 1990s, such as last week's forest fires near Lice. Kurds who had returned to Turkey after the 2013 ceasefire and started building a new life, are now told that they must leave their homeland again.

In North Syria and North Iraq, Ankara has been launching offensives against a coalition composed of the PKK and the Kurds from Syria, the YPG. Even though this coalition provided strategic support while pushing Islamic State militants out of areas they once controlled, it is still regarded by the USA as a terrorist organization. Moreover, Turkey has recently opened its airbases to the US army and is regarded as an official alley. Considering that the Kurds are rapidly gaining territory in North Syria, Washington DC understands why Ankara would want to defend its frontiers in the South of Turkey.

Instead of joining forces to release mankind from the growing influence of IS, Ankara seems to be pursuing its own benefits by restraining the progression of Kurds in the Middle East.