August 23, 2005


‘The Kurdish Problem’: An insurgency group in Turkey is responding favorably to the prime minister’s overtures. But after 20 years, is peace possible? (Sami Kohen And Owen Matthews, Aug. 22, 2005, Newsweek)

Has the Kurdistan Worker's Party, better known as the PKK, finally given up insurgency against the Turkish state, which has claimed over 35,000 lives over 20 years? Last week the PKK announced a one-month unilateral ceasefire after a recent resurgence of attacks against Turkish army patrols and a series of bomb attacks on tourist resorts.

The unexpected ceasefire was prompted by a bold reconciliation initiative by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. ''The Kurdish problem" can only be solved by "more democracy, more civil rights, more prosperity,'' Erdogan told heavily policed crowds in Diyarbakir, the heartland of Kurdish nationalism, earlier this month. [...]

[E]rdogan's initiative is the boldest move to reconcile Turks and rebellious Kurds in a generation. If Erdogan [can] convince extremists on both sides—and Europe—that he can truly build up Kurdish rights while not undermining the unity of the Turkish state, he has the chance to become a historic peacemaker.

He may be able to convince them but this is a necessary step towards disintegration. Kurds don't consider themselves part of Turkey, so they won't be.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 23, 2005 6:27 AM
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