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Democratic Union Party (Syria)

Turkey and the Kurdish conflict – domestic agenda meets...

Democratic Union Party (Syria) 20%

... regional concerns


Though a possible peace deal with the PKK has a lot to offer to Turkey, the process is still susceptible to spoilers. Should the rumoured PKK ceasefire on 21st March hold, then spring may well be the beginning of a long anticipated peace in Turkey.


What the the principles of conflict transformation?


Since September 2012, Turkish government officials and representatives of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) have been negotiating the details of a peace plan which includes a cessation of armed hostilities, the relocation of PKK forces outside Turkish territories and an amnesty for Kurdish militants. The negotiations have thus far proved to be a bumpy ride for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and the PKK, hampered by assassinations and leaks. Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has taken a huge political risk by openly engaging with the PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan, who has remained in solitary confinement since his capture in 1999.


Turkey’s experience with Iraqi Kurdistan has a lot to offer in this regard. After the weakening of the Saddam Regime in 1991, Baghdad lost its control over Northern Iraq, leading to the development of Iraqi Kurdistan. After ignoring the development of the Kurdish entity in Northern Iraq for more than a decade, the Turkish government decided to cooperate with the Kurdish regional government in Arbil. Turkey’s unconditional support to Sunni groups in Iraq strained its relations with Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, making the Iraqi Kurds Turkey’s most stable partner in the country. Turkish foreign policy officials are also aware of the fact that Kurdistan prime minister, Nechirvan Barzani, holds sway over both the Democratic Union Party (Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat, PYD) in Syria and the PKK field headq. arters in Northern Iraq.


By Dr. Ulas Doga Eralp


Read more: TransConflict (13 Mar 2013)

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