Former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Friday sparked a debate on Turkey’s bloodiest summer, between June and November 2015, which saw successive terrorist attacks, saying that the period was historically the most critical timeframe of the Turkish Republic.
“If the books on the fight against terror are opened, people who criticized us won’t be able to show themselves in public,” Davutoğlu said at a political convention in Sakarya province.
Last week the leader of ruling party ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahçeli, criticized Davutoğlu for backing Kurdish mayors who were removed by the Turkish government over alleged terrorism links.
Bahçeli said Davutoğlu was jeopardizing the fight against terrorism.
According to a BBC Turkish service interview with members of the former prime minister’s close circle, Davutoğlu was mainly targeting the MHP leader with his speech; however, the Turkish opposition called on him to reveal all he knows.
Opposition deputies even submitted a parliamentary question to the Interior Ministry over Davutoğlu’s remarks.
In June 2015 Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its majority in a general election for the first time since 2002, while the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) garnered over 10 percent of the vote and entered the Turkish parliament for the first time in its history.
Soon after the election President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan halted peace talks with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and launched a massive counterterrorism operation in Turkey’s southeastern region, eventually causing dozens of civilian deaths and the destruction of some residential parts of the predominantly Kurdish provinces.
Meanwhile, the AKP and main opposition party had talks to form a government, but President Erdoğan had repeatedly expressed his desire to hold another election.
MHP leader Bahçeli, who is known for his hawkish stance against the Kurds, also had rejected offers from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to form a government with the support of the Kurdish party.
Later the Turkish parliament decided to hold new elections on Nov. 1, 2015.
Between June and November of that year, Turkey survived a number of terrorist attacks by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) that left 136 people dead.
Clashes with the PKK in the same period had also caused the death of nearly 170 security force members.
According to observers, that summer diverted public concern from the economy and authoritarian rule to national security, ultimately increasing public support for the ruling AKP in November.
The Turkish opposition believes the ruling party deliberately overlooked the terrorist threats in that period for political gain as well as initiating a fight against the PKK by abruptly stopping peace talks.