The terrorist organization declared September as the month of attacks. Supposedly, they have taken inspiration from the Arab Spring. They plan to push the public against the soldiers and police officers. If the security forces do not open fire on people, they will. Those who try to acquit the PKK of any charges, as if they didn't know the fact that the police have already uncovered plans of the terrorist organization in this pattern for some period of time, are either implying that this nation is stupid or they are after other aims.
Those who use every opportunity to support the PKK and the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) are lashing out at the physical combat against terrorism as "security-oriented mentality," which not only encourages terrorists, but also demoralizes those who fight against terrorism. A democratic country is of course supposed to strike a balance between security and freedom. Advocating freedom does not mean surrendering to terrorists. Likewise, advocating security-oriented policies does not empower the state to violate laws and terrorize the country. To maintain a balance, we need to look at the matter from all aspects and take the correct steps in every area.
What is obvious is that the terrorist organization maintains its guerrilla warfare and it also targets the settlements to occupy them. This is a sort of challenge. It attacks military outposts, attempts to occupy a city and heinously massacres civilians. What is the state supposed to do? Of course, it will suffocate these evil forces. It will curb the efforts made by some countries for supporting the PKK.
At such a critical period, the state's position becomes more significant. For instance, it should not lose its temper. It should not violate laws. It should decipher the plans of those agents and provocateurs who try to provoke Kurds and non-Kurds to fight against each other. The state should embrace every single citizen with compassion and justice. It has to do it. Yet it is also the duty of the state to counter and penalize the organizations that have become toys of intelligence organizations. And Turkey has the power to do so. However, Turkey should see where it might be dragged by other countries in the next 25 years and should make its own plans for the future.
Those who urge Ankara to "negotiate" with the terrorist organization are simultaneously ordering the same terrorist organization to strike. It is as if increased anarchy plays into their hands. It is as if the organization's bargaining power increases if the public's despair is increased. It is as if the more blood it spills, the more achievements the organization has and the more Ankara surrenders to the terrorist organization. It is unfortunate that even seemingly sane people can advocate this, but the result is a deadlock, not a solution. It is clear that what we need is a simultaneous fight against terrorism. The state must take democratization steps boldly and at the same time undermine the terrorist organization. This is how counter-terrorism works everywhere around the globe.
At the same time, citizens have great responsibilities, too. No one should dare assume the duties of security forces. Then, what we get will be anarchy. This is not a specific problem of a specific political party. Some wily demagogues try to politicize the matter and turn it into hostility against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). This is utterly wrong. We must learn a total lesson from our 30-year fight against terrorism.
According to the media reports, it is the PKK central committee that decides all of the attacks. It is this committee who are responsible for dozens of attacks and thousands of murders. But who are these guys? We are not talking about ghosts. Their names are known: Murat Karayılan, Cemil Bayık, Sabri Ok, Sofi Nurettin, Fehman Hüseyin, Duran Kalkan and Mustafa Karasu. They have been leading the organization for more than 30 years. Their names, codenames, photos, friends, etc., are known. Make a quick search on the Internet and you see them. The critical question: Why was nothing done against these people who masterminded so many murders, bombed attacks, kidnappings and so on for the past 30 years?
Last week, there was a hearing at a case against "photojournalist" Mustafa Özer, who appears to be a Nationalist Intelligence Organization (MİT) member apprehended during the police operations against the KCK. As we learn from the trial heard at the 17th High Criminal Court, this "journalist/agent," who was working for the French news agency L'Agence France-Presse (AFP), met Murat Karayılan several times and he has infiltrated into the PKK's headquarters in Europe, the organization's brain in Europe, and reported the names of 1,500 PKK members to the MİT. But what happened afterwards? We don't know what happened next. This does not apply to MİT officials only. There are also countless journalists who have interviewed Karayılan. Isn't it weird that such a public person is also kept away from public eyes?
Imagine if the US or a European country has been fighting against a terrorist organization for 30 years and it knows the leaders of that organization. Would those leaders be as comfortable as PKK leaders in our case? Even the supporters' base of the organization is unhappy with the fact that the organization has been led by the same people for 30 years. But those who fight against terrorism do not take such details into consideration, do they?
Terrorism is actually a global problem; it is for this reason international cooperation is sought against it. Why can such a co-operation not be established against the PKK, when countries rush to collaborate against certain terrorist organizations? We need to review our counterterrorism polices in the framework of the answers to these questions. The matter is not solely about sharing information or intelligence.
Yes, democratization must be maintained to the final stage. Yes, human rights must be improved to the highest point. Yes, fundamental rights and freedoms must be boosted fully. But we must put an end to the violence of the terrorist organization. We must correctly analyze the shadowy plans of a terrorist organization that works as a subcontractor simultaneously to several countries and the intentions of its bosses and partners before we can radically solve the problem. Otherwise, it does not seem possible to save the public from the fear of terror and to provide the maintenance of participatory democracy.
Can one become a journalist and an intelligence officer at the same time?
A brief search into agent journalists on the Internet will get you to a tremendous archive of information. This particularly applies to Turkey. And this archive does not consist only of rumors. There are also concrete names and incidents and persuasive observations. There are a number of striking examples including the disclosure of the second man in Ankara office of a big newspaper as an agent and the names of those who instantly reported the developments in their respective journals to the military rule of the September 12 era. For instance, on the morning of the September 12 coup, a journalist came to his workplace (Cumhuriyet newspaper) wearing an officer's uniform. It turned out he was an intelligence officer. A person who worked for Hergün newspaper, which would be read enthusiastically by the idealists or ultranationalists (ülkücü) in the run-up to the September 12 coup, was later found out to be an intelligence officer.
Recently, some people even try to legitimize agents as journalists, saying, "What's wrong with this? Working for the intelligence is not bad." It is thought-provoking that this mentality is purported by certain groups who wouldn't see the regime, and even the state, as legitimate.
Of course, intelligence is a profession and when it is performed properly, it can even be regarded as a sacred profession. However, to work simultaneously as an agent and a journalist in secrecy and, furthermore, claim this is a proper thing to do is an aberration. Indeed, news stories, headlines, agenda-setting information or columns such a journalist pens will fall into a big abyss. How can we know what such a person says is part of a psychological warfare campaign or not?
Some journalists, in particular those who deal with police and court affairs, may obtain information from the police or military intelligence or the MİT, but they must be cautious not to be manipulated by them. If it becomes obvious that they are manipulated by them, this means the end of their career as a journalist. And if they are paid by any intelligence organization, they may be called anything but journalists.
Mehmet Eymür, a former head of the Counterterrorism Department at the MİT, said there are many "agent journalists." It was said that a former prime minister showed someone the list of the journalists who were being paid by the intelligence organizations. Who are they? For which papers do they work? Are their reports manipulative? We don't know. But if this web of relations becomes clear someday, everyone can be assured that the country's recent history will be rewritten.