The problem currently facing Turkey that has been the most harmful and has the longest background has been the conflicts with the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party). A major attempt at a solution had been the “Peace Process” that gave hope to millions across the country. Although the government had taken steps in negotiating a peace process with PKK, mobilizing the wise people across the country and promising peace for future, in the meantime more police “fortresses,” under the name of border outposts (far away from any borderline) have been constructed.
While the people of southeastern cities have been against the fortified police posts, the constructions had been going on throughout the process. There are claims that they were being built because the construction companies that won the tendering belonged to AKP members.
The history of the fortresses is infamous, especially among the Kurdish population and the leftists in the region, as they have been home to several mass graves for dozens of people in the last three decades, as well as occasional “accidental” shootings of people. In 1993, the town of Lice had been completely burned down by counter-terror teams and many people had “disappeared”.
While regional security is something the state needs to supply, when the people of the region do not feel secure with the presence of the state forces it is hardly achievable. As the Uludere massacre still remains to be investigated, and remembering that (as PM Erdogan stated) no soldiers would carry out any operation without his knowledge and on orders of the Minister of Interior, the Lice shootings caused further unease.
When the construction of one such police post was being protested yesterday in Lice/Diyarbakir, national security forces fired on people, and an 18-year-old died and 10 were wounded, with three of them in critical condition. The bullet marks were in the backs of most of the people who were shot with bullets.
The local governor told the press that the security forces only opened fire shooting into the air and that civilians must have shot each other in order to put the blame on soldiers. The mainstream media gave the breaking news with the following headline: “Soldiers open fire in the air, one dead, 5 wounded.” Later on the mainstream media continued to refer to the local Governor’s and state officials’ statements describing the protesters as “terrorists” and saying that they attacked the soldiers.
If this terrible event had happened a month ago, the majority of the people in the west would have taken the word of state officials and mainstream media. Yet this time, the social media played a major role once again and the Gezi protesters mobilized and took to the streets to protest the bullets fired in Lice. While government officials declared this part of a conspiracy to end the peace process, the majority of the people on the streets seemed to have no problem with the Kurdish population in terms of civil peace.
Thousands of people marched till late hours in many western cities and showed their support for the people of Lice, including the nationalist groups that have stopped believing the news from the mainstream media. Even the former “hawks” of the nationalist groups have started using a more peaceful vocabulary. The ethnic Kurdish party BDP had already declared that the Kurds would soon take to the streets to demand acceleration of the peace process and a halt to construction of further military posts. Now it has already naturally joined in with the Gezi protesters in solidarity against state-instigated violence.