by Gareth Jenkins (vol. 6, no. 9 of the Turkey Analyst)
On May 8, 2013, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) formally began to withdraw its militants from Turkey as part of the peace negotiations between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and imprisoned PKK founder Abdullah Öcalan. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is likely to wait until the withdrawal is complete – a process that could take several months – before announcing what, if any, concessions he is prepared to make to Kurdish nationalist demands. Managing the resultant uncertainty will be a major challenge, particularly given the diametrically opposed hopes and fears of Kurdish nationalists and Turkish nationalists. Erdoğan’s record suggests that the Kurds have more reason to be skeptical. But, in the short-term, assuaging Turkish nationalist fears could prove to be the greater problem.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.