By Svante E. Cornell (vol. 1, no. 11 of the Turkey Analyst)
In early July, the PKK terrorist organization abducted three German climbers on Mt. Ararat, in an apparent revenge for Germany’s decision to ban the PKK’s mouthpiece, Denmark-based television channel Roj TV. The episode points to the PKK’s continuous difficulties in maintaining its claim to represent Kurdish opinion, faced with multiple challenges – from both the Turkish military and governing party, who otherwise agree on little; as well as the EU’s refusal to grant the PKK legitimacy and the Iraqi Kurdish parties’ success in making Iraqi Kurdistan the beacon of Kurdish hope, eclipsing the PKK. It remains to be seen whether the PKK will be successful in taking advantage of the current Turkish crisis.
By the Editors (vol. 1, no. 3 of the Turkey Analyst)
In the past month, Turkey experienced high levels of internal and external turmoil. Turkey launched a large military operation in northern Iraq, which created acrimony as the subsequent pullout was questioned by the opposition.. Meanwhile, the country’s internal turmoil deepened. This internal crisis is making the conduct of a coherent foreign policy increasingly difficult, with serious implications for its ability to play a role as a regional power.
By Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 6, no. 16 of the Turkey Analyst)
On September 9, 2013, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) announced that it had halted the phased withdrawal of its militants from Turkey but would continue with its temporary ceasefire in order to give the Turkish government a last opportunity to meets its demands for greater rights for the country’s Kurdish minority.
by Gareth H. Jenkins (vol. 6, no. 1 of the Turkey Analyst)
On January 9, 2013, three female Kurdish nationalist activists affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were assassinated execution-style in the heart of Paris. They included Sakine Cansız, the doyenne of the Kurdish women’s movement and one of the original founders of the PKK. On December 28, 2012, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had announced the beginning of a new dialogue with imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan to try to put an end to the PKK’s 28 year-old insurgency. The timing of the Paris killings has meant that they have been interpreted as being linked to the dialogue; with Kurdish nationalists and Turkish government supporters each effectively accusing elements within the other of responsibility. Although both sides have called for the dialogue with Öcalan to continue, many Kurdish nationalists have serious doubts about the Turkish government’s sincerity, suspecting that Erdoğan’s main aim is to weaken and marginalize the PKK rather than address the underlying grievances that fuel its insurgency.
The reactions to the resumed talks between the Turkish government and Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), are generally cautious among the Turkish commentators. What is especially notable is that several of those Turkish commentators who have earned a name as experts on the Kurdish issue are particularly circumspect, expressing severe doubts about the prospects of the resumed peace process; notably, they question the motives of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and point out that the Turkish government isn’t offering any comprehensive solution to the Kurdish question, only talking about disarming the PKK. Although that secures the consent of the Turkish majority to having talks with Öcalan, an agreement that disregards the Kurds’ demands will not be viable, they warn.
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.